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Poem by Robert William Service
I saw the Greatest Man on Earth, Aye, saw him with my proper eyes. A loin-cloth spanned his proper girth, But he was naked otherwise, Excepting for his grey sombrero; And when his domelike head he bared, With reverence I stared and stared, As mummified as any Pharaoh. He leaned upon a little cane, A big cigar was in his mouth; Through spectacles of yellow stain He gazed and gazed toward the South; And then he dived into the sea, As if to Corsica to swim; His side stroke was so strong and free I could not help but envy him. A fitter man than I, I said, Although his age is more than mine; And I was strangely comforted To see him battle in the brine. Thought I: We have no cause for sorrow; For one so dynamic to-day Will gird him for the future fray And lead us lion-like to-morrow. The Greatest Man in all the world Lay lazing like you or me, Within a flimsy bathrobe curled Upon a mattress by the sea: He reached to pat a tou-tou's nose, And scratched his torso now and then, And scribbled with a fountain pen What I assumed was jewelled prose. And then methought he looked at me, And hailed me with a gesture grand; His fingers made the letter "V," So I, too, went to raise my hand; - When nigh to me the barman glided With liquid gold, and then I knew He merely called for cock-tails two, And so abjectly I subsided. Yet I have had my moment's glory, A-squatting nigh that Mighty Tory, Proud Hero of our Island Story.
Robert William Service
Robert William Service's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org