My Madonna

By Robert W. Service 1874–1958
I haled me a woman from the street,
   Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model’s seat
   And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
   I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
   If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
   Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
   “’Tis Mary, the Mother of God.”

So I painted a halo round her hair,
   And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
   Where you and all may see.

Source: The Best of Robert Service (1953)

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Poet Robert W. Service 1874–1958

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Painting & Sculpture, Religion, Arts & Sciences, Christianity

Poetic Terms Common Measure

 Robert W. Service

Biography

The fame of Robert Service—considerable in his day—resulted from the publication of two best-selling volumes of verse: The Spell of the Yukon (1907) and Ballad of a Cheechako (1909). In rollicking rhythms and comical rhymes, Service regaled armchair adventures with gripping yarns of the wild Northwest—rough men braving hardship on the lonely frontier in pursuit of “the muck called gold.”

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Painting & Sculpture, Religion, Arts & Sciences, Christianity

POET’S REGION Canada

Poetic Terms Common Measure

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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