Buckwheat Donahue of Skagway, a captivating storyteller, entertainer, historian, and adventurer reads some of the best known poems by Robert Service, Poet Laureate of the Yukon.
Points of Interest
Meet Robert Service, Poet Laureate of the Yukon. Buckwheat briefly recounts the personal life of Mr. Service and the historical context of his writings.
Learn the meaning of the Alaskan slang words ‘cheechako’ and ‘sourdough’.
Robert Service’s background plays a large role in his works. Find out which national heritage influences him the most.
Says I to my Missis: “Ba goom, lass! you’ve something I see, on your mind.” Says she: “You are right, Sam, I’ve something. It ‘appens it’s on me be’ind. A Boil as ‘ud make Job jealous. It ‘urts me no end when I sit.”? Says I: “Go to ‘ospittel, Missis. They might ‘ave to coot it a bit.”? Says she: “I just ‘ate to be showin’ the part of me person it’s at.” Says I: “Don’t be fussy; them doctors see sights more ‘orrid than that.” So Misses goes… ...more
There once was a Square, such a square little Square, And he loved a trim Triangle; But she was a flirt and around her skirt Vainly she made him dangle. Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread Of domestic woes and wrangles; For he thought that his fate was to procreate Cute little Squares and Triangles. Now it happened one day on that geometric way There swaggered a big bold Cube, With a haughty stare and he made that Square Have the air of a… ...more
I wanted the gold, and I sought it, I scrabbled and mucked like a slave. Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it; I hurled my youth into a grave. I wanted the gold, and I got it — Came out with a fortune last fall, — Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it, And somehow the gold isn’t all. No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?) It’s the cussedest land that I know, From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it To the deep, deathlike valleys… ...more
There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge ? I cremated Sam McGee. Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God… ...more
The word ‘harpy’ has it’s roots in Greek and Roman mythology. Learn more about its meaning in the context of Robert Service’s Poem.
There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she; She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three; And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity. There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven; Unloved I live, unloved I die, unpitied, unforgiven; A loathèd jade, I ply my trade, unhallowed and unshriven. I paint my cheeks, for they are white, and cheeks of chalk men hate; Mine… ...more
I Let others sing of gold and gear, the joy of being rich; But oh, the days when I was poor, a vagrant in a ditch! When every dawn was like a gem, so radiant and rare, And I had but a single coat, and not a single care; When I would feast right royally on bacon, bread and beer, And dig into a stack of hay and doze like any peer; When I would wash beside a brook my solitary shirt, And though it dried upon my back I never took a hurt; When I… ...more
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in, A race that can’t stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and they rove the flood, And they climb the mountain’s crest; Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don’t know how to rest. If they just went straight they might go far; They are strong and brave and true; But they’re always tired of the things that are, And they want… ...more
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon; The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune; Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew, And watching his luck was his light‑o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou. When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare, There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear. He looked like a man with a… ...more
One pearly day in early May I walked upon the sand And saw, say half a mile away, a man with gun in hand. A dog was cowering to his will as slow he sought to creep Upon a dozen ducks so still they seemed to be asleep. When like a streak the dog dashed out, the ducks flashed up in flight. The fellow gave a savage shout and cursed with all his might. Then as I stood somewhat amazed and gazed with eyes agog, With bitter rage his gun he… ...more