One of the few items I own that belonged to my late father is a worn collection of Robert Service poems. The book is hardback — light blue cloth and gold leaf lettering on the outside, yellowed pages inside. The book is about 50 years old and it’s got that old book smell of wood and wet leaves.
My dad once told me that his favorite poem is in that book. It’s called, “Comfort.”
It’s been years since I thought of that poem, but the verses just popped into my mind as I read Emily Achenbaum Harris’ musings to wish us all a happy first day of fall.
This sounds cheesy, but the following poem is the only one that I have committed to memory, and can recite with any feeling. I’m willing to embarrass myself a little here by sharing, because maybe you’ll get comfort from the poem too:
By Robert Service
Say! You’ve struck a heap of trouble —
Bust in business, lost your wife;
No one cares a cent about you,
You don’t care a cent for life;
Hard luck has of hope bereft you,
Health is failing, wish you’d die —
Why, you’ve still the sunshine left you
And the big, blue sky.
Sky so blue it makes you wonder
If it’s heaven shining through;
Earth so smiling ‘way out yonder,
Sun so bright it dazzles you;
Birds a-singing, flowers a-flinging
All their fragrance on the breeze;
Dancing shadows, green, still meadows —
Don’t you mope, you’ve still got these.
These, and none can take them from you;
These, and none can weigh their worth.
What! you’re tired and broke and beaten? —
Why, you’re rich — you’ve got the earth!
Yes, if you’re a tramp in tatters,
While the blue sky bends above
You’ve got nearly all that matters —
You’ve got God, and God is love.