Sea Change

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958

I saw a Priest in beetle black
Come to our golden beach,
And I was taken sore aback
Lest he should choose to preach
And chide me for my only wear,
A "Gee" string and a brassière.

And then I saw him shyly doff
And fold his grim soutane,
And one by one his clothes take off,
Until like any man
He stood in bathing trunks, a sight
To thrill a maiden with delight.

For he was framed and fashioned like
Apollo Belvedere;
I felt my heart like cymbal strike
Beneath my brassière.
And then the flounce of foam he broke,
And disappeared with flashing stroke.

We met. 'Twas in the billows roll.
Oh how he sang with joy;
But not a hymn, - a merry troll
With gusto of a boy.
I looked, and lo! the priest was gone,
And in his place a laughing faun. . . .

Today confession I have made.
The Father's face was stern,
And I was glad that in the shade
Mine he could not discern . . .
He gave me grace - but oh the bliss,
The salty passion of his kiss!

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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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    "Sea Change" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Oct. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/32422/sea-change>.

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