Thursday, May 10, 2007

LS: God-Shaped Poetry

Sunday during the sharing of the communion elements at our gathering, I read some poetry, beautiful, God-shaped poetry, by Robert William Service.

Robert William Service was quite the prolific poet in his day. He wrote a lot about the Yukon where he lived for a spell, many poems entitled The Ballad of (Fill-in-the-Blank). The most famous is probably The Shooting of Dan McGrew. The poem I’ve included (and warning, there’s a naughty word in it!) references this work. And while I could write a nice long piece about making sure what you’re writing is something you’ll be proud to have your name on in years to come, I’ll let this poem do the job.

While I love reading the exciting Dan McGrew, how sad that Service’s other works are barely noticed.

Want to read more of Service’s work, including the infamous The Shooting of Dan McGrew? Here’s the link!

My Cross

I wrote a poem to the moon
But no one noticed it;
Although I hoped that late or soon
Someone would praise a bit
Its purity and grace forlone,
Its beauty tulip-cool...
But as my poem died still-born,
I felt a fool.

I wrote a verse of vulgar trend
Spiced with an oath or two;
I tacked a snapper at the end
And called it Dan McGrew.
I spouted it to bar-room boys,
Full fifty years away;
Yet still with rude and ribald noise
It lives today.

'Tis bitter truth, but there you are-
That's how a name is made;
Write of a rose, a lark, a star,
You'll never make the grade.
But write of gutter and of grime,
Of pimp and prostitute,
The multitude will read your rhyme,
And pay to boot.

So what's the use to burn and bleed
And strive for beauty's sake?
No one your poetry will read,
Your heart will only break.
But set your song in vulgar pitch,
If rhyme you will not rue,
And make your heroine a bitch...
Like Lady Lou.


lisa samson

author of The Church Ladies and Club Sandwich.


At 12:11 PM, Blogger Heather said...

This reminded me of Martin Luther because so many of the hymns we sing today he stole from drinking songs.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather memorized both The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee at the age of 82, just to prove he could still do it :)


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