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A Rolling Stone

There's sunshine in the heart of me,
My blood sings in the breeze;
The mountains are a part of me,
I'm fellow to the trees.
My golden youth I'm squandering,
Sun-libertine am I;
A-wandering, a-wandering,
Until the day I die.

I was once, I declare, a Stone-Age man,
  And I roomed in the cool of a cave;
I have known, I will swear, in a new life-span,
  The fret and the sweat of a slave:
For far over all that folks hold worth,
  There lives and there leaps in me
A love of the lowly things of earth,
  And a passion to be free.

To pitch my tent with no prosy plan,
  To range and to change at will;
To mock at the mastership of man,
  To seek Adventure's thrill.
Carefree to be, as a bird that sings;
  To go my own sweet way;
To reck not at all what may befall,
  But to live and to love each day.

To make my body a temple pure
  Wherein I dwell serene;
To care for the things that shall endure,
  The simple, sweet and clean.
To oust out envy and hate and rage,
  To breathe with no alarm;
For Nature shall be my anchorage,
  And none shall do me harm.

To shun all lures that debauch the soul,
  The orgied rites of the rich;
To eat my crust as a rover must
  With the rough-neck down in the ditch.
To trudge by his side whate'er betide;
  To share his fire at night;
To call him friend to the long trail-end,
  And to read his heart aright.

To scorn all strife, and to view all life
  With the curious eyes of a child;
From the plangent sea to the prairie,
  From the slum to the heart of the Wild.
From the red-rimmed star to the speck of sand,
  From the vast to the greatly small;
For I know that the whole for good is planned,
  And I want to see it all.

To see it all, the wide world-way,
  From the fig-leaf belt to the Pole;
With never a one to say me nay,
  And none to cramp my soul.
In belly-pinch I will pay the price,
  But God! let me be free;
For once I know in the long ago,
  They made a slave of me.

In a flannel shirt from earth's clean dirt,
  Here, pal, is my calloused hand!
Oh, I love each day as a rover may,
  Nor seek to understand.
To enjoy is good enough for me;
  The gipsy of God am I;
Then here's a hail to each flaring dawn!
And here's a cheer to the night that's gone!
And may I go a-roaming on
  Until the day I die!

Then every star shall sing to me
Its song of liberty;
And every morn shall bring to me
Its mandate to be free.
In every throbbing vein of me
I'll feel the vast Earth-call;
O body, heart and brain of me
Praise Him who made it all!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:33 min read
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Robert William Service

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was Robert William Service was born 16 January 1874 in Preston England but also lived in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in 1894 Service went to the Yukon Territory in 1904 as a bank clerk and became famous for his poems about this region which are mostly in his first two books of poetry He wrote quite a bit of prose as well and worked as a reporter for some time but those writings are not nearly as well known as his poems He travelled around the world quite a bit and narrowly escaped from France at the beginning of the Second World War during which time he lived in Hollywood California He died 11 September 1958 in France Incidentally he played himself in a movie called The Spoilers starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich more…

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    "A Rolling Stone" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 5 Mar. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/31955/a-rolling-stone>.

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