Perfection

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958

If I could practise what I preach,
Of fellows there would few be finer;
If I were true to what I teach
My life would be a lot diviner.
If I would act the way I speak,
Of halo I might be a winner:
The spirit wills, the flesh is weak,--
  I'm just a simple sinner.
 
Six days I stray,--on number seven
I try to be a little better,
And stake a tiny claim on Heaven
By clinging close to gospel letter.
My pew I occupy on Sunday,
And though I draw the line at snoring,
I must admit I long for Monday,
  And find the sermon boring.

Although from godly grace I fall,
For sensed with sin my every act is,
'Twere better not to preach at all,
Then I would have no need to practice.
So Sabbath day I'll sneak away,
And though the Church grieve my defection,
In sunny woodland I will pray:
  "God save us from Perfection!"

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert William Service

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was Robert William Service was born 16 January 1874 in Preston England but also lived in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in 1894 Service went to the Yukon Territory in 1904 as a bank clerk and became famous for his poems about this region which are mostly in his first two books of poetry He wrote quite a bit of prose as well and worked as a reporter for some time but those writings are not nearly as well known as his poems He travelled around the world quite a bit and narrowly escaped from France at the beginning of the Second World War during which time he lived in Hollywood California He died 11 September 1958 in France Incidentally he played himself in a movie called The Spoilers starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich more…

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