Each sunny day upon my way
A goat I pass;
He has a beard of silver grey,
A bell of brass.
And all the while I am in sight
He seems to muse,
And stares at me with all his might
And chews and chews.
Upon the hill so thymy sweet
With joy of Spring,
He hails me with a tiny bleat
Though half the globe is drenched with blood
And cities flare,
Contentedly he chews the cud
And does not care.
Oh gentle friend, I know not what
Your age may be,
But of my years I'd give the lot
Yet left to me,
To chew a thistle and not choke,
But bright of eye
Gaze at the old world-weary bloke
Who hobbles by.
Alas! though bards make verse sublime,
And lines to quote,
It takes a fool like me to rhyme
About a goat.
This poem is in the public domain.
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Robert Service (1874 - 1958) was a Scottish poet who became smitten with the Yukon Territory when he moved to Canada at the age of 21. Though he longed to be a trail-blazing cowboy, and many thought he indeed lived the life of which he wrote, Robert was, in fact, a bank clerk. After wandering North America for several years, working at odd jobs and various bank branches, he finally settled down in Dawson City, Yukon, some time after the Gold Rush. Robert began writing poems about his stark and beautiful surroundings, and about the legends and lifestyle associated with that part of the world. When his collection of poetry, The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses, was published in 1907, it was an immediate success, made Robert wealthy beyond his greatest expectations, and earned him the nickname "The Bard of the Yukon." Robert alternated living in North America and Europe for the remainder of his life--even spending a few years in Hollywood; the cabin in the Klondike where he made his home is now a Canadian national park site.
There is a depth to this poem not immediately apparent. Smooth rhyme. The photo adds to the poem experience. (Presently reading "Connemara Blues" poetry by John O'Donohue) ..fitting.
Posted 03/08/2013 12:55 PM
Jayne, I worked at Connemara for a year and understand your love of that land.
Posted 03/08/2013 11:16 AM
Yes, Jayne, I hope spring is bursting forth where you are! Phyllis
Posted 03/08/2013 10:34 AM
Wishing you a "thymy sweet" birthday!
Posted 03/08/2013 10:10 AM
I have a bias in favor of goat poems because my Uncle Norman raised goats. This is not just a frivolous poem about an animal, though. It is also a poem about the cost of war. One of the first poems Service published was about the dead of the Boer War. He was a war correspondent in the Balkan War and a Red Cross volunteer in World War I. He knew well the price of war.
Posted 03/08/2013 08:48 AM
I like the way Service took a routine (for him) occurrence and made such a fun poem out of it. The rhythm of the alternating long and short lines remind me of canoe strokes. Dip the paddle in the water, pull, then rest. Repeat.
Posted 03/08/2013 07:51 AM