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The Robbers



Alas! I see that thrushes three
Are ravishing my old fig tree,
In whose green shade I smoked my pipe
And waited for the fruit to ripe;
From green to purple softly swell
Then drop into my lap to tell
That it is succulently sweet
And excellent to eat.

And now I see the crimson streak,
The greedy gash of yellow beak.
And look! the finches come in throng,
In wavy passage, light with song;
Of course I could scare them away,
But with a shrug: 'The heck!' I say.
I owe them something for their glee,
So let them have their spree.

For all too soon in icy air
My fig tree will be bleak and bare,
Until it wake from Winter sleep
And button buds begin to peep.
Then broad leaves come to shelter me
In luminous placidity.
Then figs will ripen with a rush
And brash will come the thrush.

But what care I though birds destroy
My fruit,--they pay me back with joy.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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