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My Centenarian



A hundred years is a lot of living
I've often thought. and I'll know, maybe,
Some day if the gods are good in giving,
And grant me to turn the century.
Yet in all my eighty years of being
I've never known but one ancient man
Who actively feeling, hearing, seeing,
Survived t beyond the hundred span.

Thinking? No, I don't guess he pondered;
He had the brains of a tiny tot,
And in his mind he so often wandered,
I doubted him capable of thought.
He hadn't much to think of anyway,
There in the village of his birth,
Painfully poor in a pinching penny-way,
And grimed with the soiling of Mother Earth.

Then one day motoring past his cottage,
The hovel in which he had been born,
I saw him supping a mess of pottage,
on the sill door, so fail forlorn.
Thinks I: I'll give him a joy that's thrilling,
A spin in my open Cadillac;
And so I asked him, and he was willing,
And I installed him there in the back.

en I put the big bus through its paces,
A hundred miles an hour or more;
And he clutched at me with queer grimaces,
(He's never been in a car before.)
The motor roared and the road was level,
The old chap laughed like an impish boy,
And as I drove like the very devil,
Darn him! he peed his pants with joy.

And so I crowned his long existence
By showing him how our modern speed
Easily can annihilate distance,
And answer to all our modern need.
And I went on my way but little caring,
Until I heard to mild dismay,
His drive had thrilled him beyond all bearing . . .
The poor old devil! - He died next day.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:32 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…

All Robert William Service poems | Robert William Service Books

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