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Mad Maria

Mad Maria in the Square
Sits upon a wicker chair.
When the keeper asks the price
Mad Maria counts her lice.
No pesito can she pay,
So he shrugs and goes away;
Hopes she'll pay him with her prayers,
Shabby keeper of the chairs.

Mad Maria counts her lice,
Cracks them once and cracks them twice,
Combs them from her sunny hair;
People stop to turn and stare.
Innocent in thought and deed
Mad Maria pays no heed,
And the Cross upon her breast
Proves her blessed of the blest.

So she sings her little song,
Happy as the day is long,
hunting in her camisole
Shy partakers of her dole;
thinking: Heaven please forgive -
Even lice have leave to live;
(But sweet Reader, do not blame,
For she kills them just the same.)

Mad Maria goes unchid,
Mildest maid in all Madrid;

While around in serried ranks
Rear the bold facades of Banks;
But when wrath of Heaven smites
Hosts of Mammon's parasites,
Mad Maria will not fall,
Being oh so very small.

Pariahs to God belong,
to be weak is to be strong;
Fools are richer than the wise,
And who see with shining eyes
Angels in the sordid street
Deem their happiness complete. . . .
Mad Maria counts her beads,
Cracks her lice and - Heaven heeds.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:07 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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    "Mad Maria" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 29 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32233/mad-maria>.

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