The Afflicted

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958

Softly every night they come
  To the picture show,
That old couple, deaf and dumb
  In the second row;
Wistful watching, hand in hand,
  Proud they understand.

Shut-ins from the world away,
  All in all to each;
Knowing utter joy as they
  Read the lips of speech . . .
Would, I wonder, I be glum
  Were I deaf and dumb?

Were I quieted away,
  Far from din and shock?
Were I spared the need to say
  Silly things in talk?
Utter hush I would not mind . . .
  Happy they!--I'm blind.

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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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    "The Afflicted" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Oct. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/32468/the-afflicted>.

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