The Twins

By Robert W. Service 1874–1958
There were two brothers, John and James,
And when the town went up in flames,
To save the house of James dashed John,
Then turned, and lo! his own was gone.

And when the great World War began,
To volunteer John promptly ran;
And while he learned live bombs to lob,
James stayed at home andsneaked his job.

John came home with a missing limb;
That didn’t seem to worry him;
But oh, it set his brain awhirl
To find that James hadsneaked his girl!

Time passed. John tried his grief to drown;
To-day James owns one-half the town;
His army contracts riches yield;
And John? Well, search the Potter’s Field.

Source: The Best of Robert Service (1953)

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Poet Robert W. Service 1874–1958

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Family & Ancestors, War & Conflict, Relationships, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Robert W. Service

Biography

Born in Lancashire, England to a bank cashier and an heiress, poet Robert William Service moved to Scotland at the age of five, living with his grandfather and three aunts until his parents moved to Glasgow four years later and the family reunited. He wrote his first poem on his sixth birthday, and was educated at some of the best schools in Scotland, where his interest in poetry grew alongside a desire for travel and adventure.

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SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, War & Conflict, Relationships, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION Canada

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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