If All Poems Were Limericks: “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” by Robert Service

Sam froze while prospecting for gold.
I cremated him, as I’d been told,
In a boat by the shore.
When I opened the door,
He said, “What are you doing? It’s cold!”

Happy 146th birthday to Robert Service.

Read the original here.

Robert Service calls the Poetry Crisis Line, part 2

Read part 1 here


CALLER: Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee,

COUNSELOR: What part?

CALLER: where the cotton blooms and blows.


CALLER: Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole,

COUNSELOR: So he was a dancer?

CALLER: God only knows.

COUNSELOR: But you just said–

CALLER: He was always cold,

COUNSELOR: Was there visible shrinkage?

CALLER: but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;

COUNSELOR: So he made good tips?

CALLER: Though he’d often say in his homely way

COUNSELOR: Right. So was he a good dancer? If he was homely but still got good tips.

CALLER: that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

COUNSELOR: Exotic dancing isn’t for everyone. Sometimes people burn out quickly.

Robert Service calls the Poetry Crisis Line, part 1

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: There are strange things done in the midnight sun


CALLER: By the men who moil

COUNSELOR: Yeah, that seems strange to me too. I wonder why someone would take that up as a profession.

CALLER: for gold;

COUNSELOR: You don’t think it’s some sort of sacred calling?

CALLER: The Arctic trails have their secret tales

COUNSELOR: Mohels…gold…secrets. Have you been reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

CALLER: That would make your blood run cold;

COUNSELOR: Well, yeah. But it’s propaganda.

CALLER: The Northern Lights

COUNSELOR: Is that a bar?

CALLER: have seen queer sights,

COUNSELOR: More propaganda. No one’s trying to change your orientation.

CALLER: But the queerest they ever did see

COUNSELOR: It isn’t a competition.

CALLER: Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

COUNSELOR: And I’m not here to judge.

CALLER: I cremated Sam McGee.

COUNSELOR: Huh. I’ve never heard it called that before.


Read Part 2 here