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Poem by Robert William Service

Pullman Porter

The porter in the Pullman car
Was charming, as they sometimes are.
He scanned my baggage tags: Are you
The man who wrote of Lady Lou?
When I said yes he made a fuss 
Oh, he was most assiduous;
And I was pleased to think that he
Enjoyed my brand of poetry.

He was forever at my call,
So when we got to Montreal
And he had brushed me off, I said:
Im glad my poems you have read,
I feel quite flattered, I confess,
And if you give me your address
Ill send you (autographed, of course)
One of my little books of verse.

He smiled  his teeth were white as milk;
He spoke  his voice was soft as silk.
I recognized, despite his skin,
The perfect gentleman within.
Then courteously he made reply:
I thank you kindly, Sir, but I
With many other cherished tome
Have all your books of verse at home.

When I was quite a little boy
I used to savour them with joy;
And now my daughter, aged three,
Can tell the tale of Sam McGee;
While Tom, my son, thats only two,
Has heard the yarn of Dan McGrew ....
Dont think your stuff Im not applaudin 
My taste is Eliot and Auden.

So as we gravely bade adieu
I felt quite snubbed  and so would you.
And yet I shook him by the hand,
Impressed that he could understand
The works of those two tops I mention,
So far beyond my comprehension 
A humble bard of boys and barmen,
Disdained, alas! by Pullman carmen.

Robert William Service

Robert William Service's other poems:
  1. The Wee Shop
  2. The Sum-Up
  3. Resolutions
  4. The Robbers
  5. Prelude (In youth I gnawed life's bitter rind)

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