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Roulette



I'll wait until my money's gone
Before I take the sleeping pills;
Then when they find me in the dawn,
Remote from earthly ails and ills
They'll say: "She's broke, the foreign bitch!"
And dump me in the common ditch.

So thought I, of all hope bereft,
And by my evil fate obsessed;
A thousand franks was all I'd left
Of that fair fortune I possessed.
...I throw it on the table there,
And wait, with on my lips a prayer.

I fear my very life's at stake;
My note is lying on the Red . . .
I know I'll lose it, then I'll take
My pills and sleep until I'm dead . . .
Oh God of mercy, understand!
In pity guide the croupier's hand.

My heart beats hard, my lips are dry;
I feel I cannot bear to look.
I dread to hear the croupier's cry,
I'll sit down in this quiet nook.
The lights go dim, my senses reel . . .
See! Jesus Christ is at the wheel.

* * * * * * *

Kind folks arouse me from my trance.
"The Red has come ten times," they say.
"Oh do not risk another chance;
Please, Lady, take your gains away,
And to the Lord of Luck give thanks -
You've won nigh half a million franks."

Aye, call me just a daft old dame;
I knit and sew to make my bread,
And nevermore I'll play that game,
For I've a glory in my head. . . .
Ah well I know, to stay my fall,
'Twas our dear Lord who spun the ball.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:22 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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