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Poem by Robert William Service


The Tunnel


Toil's a tunnel, there's no way out
For fellows, the like o' me;
A beggar wi' only a crust an' a clout
At the worst o' the worst is free;
but I work to eat, an' I eat to work;
It's always the same old round,
And I dassent fail for the day I shirk
They'll shovel me underground.

I guess God meant it to be that way,
For a man must make his bread;
I was born to bondage, to earn my pay,
To slave to the day I'm dead;
To live in a tunnel, to die in a ditch -
That's just what us fellows do;
For the poor must be makin' the rich more rich,
An' the many must serve the few.

Aye, we live in a tunnel, most o' us,
A-fearin' to lose our job;
But who has the right to gripe an' cuss
So the goblet's hot on the hob.
An' I mustn't be havin' the wife complain,
An' I can't let the childer fast:
So I'll toil in my tunnel an' drag my chain,
Clank! Clank! Clank! to the last.



Robert William Service


Robert William Service's other poems:
  1. Pullman Porter
  2. The Three Voices
  3. The Missal Makers
  4. Trees against the Sky
  5. The Search (Happiness, a-roving round)


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