It’s P.O.E.T.S. Day Again! The Robert Service Edition

I haven’t written a damn thing on this site since last week and here we are Friday. I’m a little embarrassed to have two P.O.E.T.S. Day posts in a row, but I was busy. I’ll pepper this thing with all manner of stuff next week and then go to my other blog to explain that I didn’t post there very much because I was busy. I’ll hit equilibrium eventually.

Back to the great tradition of P.O.E.T.S. Day, Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. Hit the bars early. Live freely. Lie to the boss, start coughing in class and excuse yourself, “car trouble” is a great reason for cancelling afternoon sales calls or meetings. Don’t feel that it’s ignoble to exploit the fact that you have kids. They get sick and need parental attention all the time. Why not today?

Wrest yourself from obligation and come have a beer or glass of wine with us. You’ve earned it. It’s sort of the weekend.

Today’s P.O.E.T.S Day is brought to you by Robert Service (1874 – 1958), a claimed Canadian who was born in England, partially schooled in Scotland, worked as everything from a banker to a ranch hand in Canada with nomadic stints taking him to the U.S., covered WWI for the Toronto Star and was mistaken for a spy and nearly executed, spent time driving an ambulance around battlefields, and joined the literary set in France. He got around.

Critics considered him an unserious poet and I can see some of that. He can be sing-songy, but the images he evokes are crisp and occasionally devastating. For the record he was the most commercially successful poet of his time with a few novels and movies to his credit as well. He was perfectly happy to say that he wrote verse, not poetry, and laugh all the way to the probably very snooty southern French bank in Nice where he took up residence.

He also got to hang out with H.G. Wells and Joyce, played himself in a movie opposite Marlene Dietrich, and ended up with his face on a Canadian postage stamp. It sounds like he had fun.

The Lark

By Robert Service

From wrath-red dawn to wrath-red dawn,
The guns have brayed without abate;
And now the sick sun looks upon
The bleared, blood-boltered fields of hate
As if it loathed to rise again.
How strange the hush! Yet sudden, hark!
From yon down-trodden gold of grain,
The leaping rapture of a lark.

A fusillade of melody,
That sprays us from yon trench of sky;
A new amazing enemy
We cannot silence though we try;
A battery on radiant wings,
That from yon gap of golden fleece
Hurls at us hopes of such strange things
As joy and home and love and peace.

Pure heart of song! do you not know
That we are making earth a hell?
Or is it that you try to show
Life still is joy and all is well?
Brave little wings! Ah, not in vain
You beat into that bit of blue:
Lo! we who pant in war’s red rain
Lift shining eyes, see Heaven too.

The weekend is now if you let it be.

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