Robert W Service, The Original Homepage

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"A year to live," the Doctor said...

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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
All Entries 1997 - 2002
All Entries 2002
Odds and Ends, Other Items Of Interest About Robert


Robert W. Service
Jan. 16, 1874 - Sept. 11, 1958

Dedicated to preserving the memory and poetry of Robert W. Service.
If you arrived here by chance follow The Archives Link and read one or two of Robert's verses. Even if you don't read poetry you may find these a bit different and to your liking.

For starters, try The Cremation Of Sam McGee or My Maddona or The Men That Dont Fit in.


The following obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph of Sept. 16, 1958: A GREAT POET died last week in Lancieux, France, at the age of 84.

He was not a poet's poet. Fancy-Dan dilettantes will dispute the description "great." He was a people's poet. To the people he was great. They understood him, and knew that any verse carrying the by-line of Robert W. Service would be a lilting thing, clear, clean and power-packed, beating out a story with a dramatic intensity that made the nerves tingle. And he was no poor, garret-type poet, either. His stuff made money hand over fist. One piece alone, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, rolled up half a million dollars for him. He lived it up well and also gave a great deal to help others.

"The only society I like," he once said, "is that which is rough and tough - and the tougher the better. That's where you get down to bedrock and meet human people." He found that kind of society in the Yukon gold rush, and he immortalized it.

Jim Gilliam Writes

I have been a fan of Robert Service since the mid 1950's. His poetry put Alaska on the map helped by Jack London's books. Ending my career in medicine I've always enjoyed his poem: Bessie's Boil, and still chuckle at the thought of a gentile English woman bearing her bottom to a bunch of painter's in a closed wing of an English hospital. As a young Coast Guard radio operator in 1962 I was stationed on Kodiak Island, Alaska. During this tour I was sent up to the Arctic Circle to a LORAN-C station at Port Clarence. We were so far north that we had to fly south to Nome for R&R. I remember my first visit to Nome. In particular I remember this one bar. Instead of the traditional back bar mirror a three part mural depicting the Shooting of Dangerous Dan McGrew adorned the wall in its place. I love that poem and it was so well done that after awhile the characters began to move. Enhanced, of course, by each drink of whiskey that I put down. Later, the bar's owner told me that the painting was done by a vagabond artist who wandered into town broke and down on his luck. The owner felt sorry for him and gave him a place to stay in the back and allowed him to take his meals in the bar's kitchen. In addition to doing chores around the place to pay for his room and board, the man painted the mural to repay the owner for his kindness. When the painting was complete the owner gave the artist enough of a stake to enable him to leave town; never to be seen or heard from again. Obviously the unknown artist had been deeply moved by Robert Service's work as I and millions of others have been.

This is a great site and I thought you might be interested in this small bit of trivia.

Jim Gilliam
Author, Point Deception

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Random question!

I am looking for the poem, "The Hermit of Shark Tooth Shoal." can you help me?