Robert William Service

Post Office Romance

The lady at the corner wicket
Sold me a stamp, I stooped to lick it,
And on the envelope to stick it;
A spinster lacking girlish grace,
Yet sweetly sensitive, her face
Seemed to en-star that stodgy place.

Said I: "I've come from o'er the sea
To ask you if you'll marry me -
That is to say, if you are free.
I see your gentle features freeze;
'I do not like such jokes as these,'
You seem to say... Have patience, please.

I saw you twenty years ago;
Just here you sold me stamps, and Oh
Your image seemed to haunt me so.
For you were lovely as a rose,
But I was poor, and I suppose
At me you tilted dainty nose.

Ah, well I knew love could not be,
So sought my fortune o'er the sea,
Deeming that you were lost to me.
Of sailing ships a mate was I,
From oriental ports to ply...
Ten years went past of foreign sky.

But always in the starry night
I steered my course with you in sight,
My dream of you a beacon light.
Then after a decade had sped
I cam again: 'What luck? I said,
'Will she be here and free to wed?'

Oh it was on a morn of Spring,
And I had in my purse a ring
I bought in Eastern voyaging,
With thought of you and only you;
For I to my love dream was true...
And here you were, your eyes of blue.

The same sun shining on your brow
Lustered you hair as it does now,
My heart was standing still, I vow.
I bought a stamp, my eyes were bent
Upon a ring you wore; I went
Away as if indifferent.

Again I sailed behind the mast,
And yet your image held me fast,
For once again ten years have passed.
And I am bronzed with braid of gold;
The rank of Captain now I hold,
And fifty are my years all told.

Yet still I have that ruby ring
I bought for you that morn of Spring -
See, here it is, a pretty thing...
But now you've none upon your finger;
Why? I don't know; but as I linger
I'm thinking : Oh what can I bring her.

Who all my life have ploughed the ocean,
A lonely man with one devotion -
Just you? Ah, if you'd take the notion
To try the thing you ought to wear,
It fits so well. Do leave it there.

And here's a note addressed to you.
Ah yes, quite strangers are we two,
But; well, please answer soon... Adieu!

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh no, you never more will see
Her selling stamps at Wicket Three:
Queen of my home, she's pouring tea.

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