Artist – Robert W Service

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He gave a picture exhibition,
Hiring a little empty shop.
Above its window: FREE ADMISSION
Cajoled the passers-by to stop;
Just to admire – no need to purchase,
Although his price might have been low:
But no proud artist ever urges
Potential buyers at his show.

.

Of course he badly needed money,
But more he needed moral aid.
Some people thought his pictures funny,
Too ultra-modern, I’m afraid.
His painting was experimental,
Which no poor artist can afford-
That is, if he would pay the rental
And guarantee his roof and board.

.

And so some came and saw and sniggered,
And some a puzzled brow would crease;
And some objected: “Well, I’m jiggered!”
What price Picasso and Matisse?
The artist sensitively quivered,
And stifled many a bitter sigh,
But day by day his hopes were shivered
For no one ever sought to buy.

.

And then he had a brilliant notion:
Half of his daubs he labelled: SOLD.
And lo! he viewed with queer emotion
A public keen and far from cold.
Then (strange it is beyond the telling),
He saw the people round him press:
His paintings went – they still are selling…
Well, nothing succeeds like success.

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By Robert W Service
Read more of his poetry
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Picture: The Artist – Bill Root

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4 thoughts on “Artist – Robert W Service

  1. I like this poet also, and you so brilliantly conveyed his art here. A beautiful tribute to a man ahead and behind his time. I enjoyed your take on this. Your perspective is lovely.
    The great white north can certainly help a writer with perspective, as does the sea, and war, and greed. He can take you to all these places, with a true silver pen and flawless imagery. I do love his haunts, and enjoy reading his works, over and over again. Timeless.

    1. Thank you, very pleased to hear you like his work! 🙂 Yes I think he was a man ahead of his time, and I have heard that other more traditional poets looked down on his works because he appealed to the working class man much more than any other class, and I can see why in this poem and a few others of his, he had a determination to reveal the illusions of life, something I like very much!!
      Suzy 😀

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