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December 10, 2018: The Bard of the North


While I love reading whenever I find the time, I've never been much of a fan of poetry, with two exceptions -- the writing of Rudyard Kipling and (the man featured in today's Pic of the Day) Robert W. Service.

02 Whitehorse Street Art (31)

Robert Service was born in England and began writing poems as a child, dreaming of a life of exploration and adventure, and of one day being a cowboy in Western Canada.  He emigrated to Canada in 1895, although he never became a cowboy.

03 Whitehorse Street Art (43)

Service is well know to Canadians because of his writing about life in Canada's Yukon territory during the Klondike Goldrush.  He moved to the Yukon during this colorful period in history and loved the characters he met and heard about, which formed the nidus of the his colorful writing.

04 Whitehorse Street Art (44)

He is best known for humorous poems like "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907 - still popular to this day and with over 3 million copies sold, the most popular book of poetry published in the 20th century). 

Todays Pic of the Day is from Whitehorse, where this memorial to Robert Service is on display

Lastly, here are the first two verses of my favorite Robert Service poem.

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
   I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy—I fought it;
   I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it—
   Came out with a fortune last fall,— 
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
   And somehow the gold isn’t all.
No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
   It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
   To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
   Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
   For no land on earth—and I’m one.


Images (4)
  • Robert W Service tribute, Whitehorse
  • Robert W Service tribute, Whitehorse
  • Robert W Service tribute, Whitehorse
  • Robert W Service tribute, Whitehorse

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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