I Believe

By Robert W. Service 1874–1958
It’s my belief that every man
   Should do his share of work,
And in our economic plan
   No citizen should shirk.
That in return each one should get
   His meed of fold and food,
And feel that all his toil and sweat
   Is for the common good.

It’s my belief that every chap
   Should have an equal start,
And there should be no handicap
   To hinder his depart;
That there be fairness in the fight,
   And justice in the race,
And every lad should have the right
   To win his proper place.

It’s my belief that people should
   Be neither rich nor poor;
That none should suffer servitude,
   And all should be secure.
That wealth is loot, and rank is rot,
   And foul is class and clan;
That to succeed a man may not
   Exploit his brother man.

It’s my belief that heritage
   And usury are wrong;
That each should win a worthy wage
   And sing an honest song ....
Not one like this — for though I rue
   The wrong of life, I flout it.
Alas! I’m not prepared to do
   A goddam thing about it.

Source: The Best of Robert Service (1953)

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Poet Robert W. Service 1874–1958

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Social Commentaries, Humor & Satire, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Humor & Satire, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION Canada

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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