|Little touches like the image prior to each poem make this a |
very handsome publication from Running Press.
For example, take this first stanza from "The Men that Don't Fit":
There's a race of men that don't fit in,Restless, hungry, agitated. Good writing, and great poetry, is timeless and the unapologetic wanderlust Service speaks of in that poem, among others, speaks to that longing for adventure that lies within all of us. Unlike the poet, though, some of us have yet to have had fate (or career) take us to that locale of high adventure... or have Service's gift for making whatever place we are at a setting for the lively interaction that satiates one's "itchy feet."
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
Service's poetry strikes me as being particularly "masculine" in its diction and tone. Whether factually based or not, I envision the neat, professional gentleman writer, among the rugged Arctic he-men, writing about the adventures and situations he experiences in his imagination when surrounded by the mountains.
Here's another tiny sample from "The Lone Trail":
The trails of the world be countless, and most of the trails be tried;Few of Service's poems are what the casual reader would consider "brief," and most are full of descriptive language with a fairly narrative sensibility to them. Though well known for character driven poems such as "The Shooting of Dan McGee," I found myself rereading more of his, I guess I would deem them, "adventure poems": those which describe (and romanticise) the rough an tumble life of the rip-roaring Klondike.
You tread on the heels of the many, till you come where the ways divide;
And one lies safe in the sunlight, and the other is dreary and wan,
Yet you look aslant at the lone Trail, and the Lone Trail lures you on.
If stories (in poetic form) of Northern adventure are your cup of tea, than this collection (though there are others collections which may be easier to find) will be worth searching out. There are also a number of poems available for reading and sharing online, too. Given the very pleasant surprise Service was for me, even if you, like I, have had no previous interest in his poetry, you could much worse than give Robert W. Service a try on a cold winter's day.