Pullman Porter by Robert William Service

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The porter in the Pullman car
Was charming, as they sometimes are.
He scanned my baggage tags: Are you
The man who wrote of Lady Lou?
When I said yes he made a fuss –
Oh, he was most assiduous,
And I was pleased to think that he
Enjoyed my brand of poetry.
He was forever at my call,
So when we got to Montreal
And he had brushed me off, I said:
I’m glad my poems you have read.
I feel quite flattered, I confess,
And if you give me your address
I’ll send you (autographed, of course)
One of my little books of verse.
He smiled – his teeth were white as milk,
He spoke – his voice was soft as silk.
I recognized, depite his skin,
The perfect gentleman within.
Then courteously he made reply:
I thank you kindly, Sir, but I
With many other cherished tome
Have all your books of verse at home.
When I was quite a little boy
I used to savour them with joy,
And now my daughter, aged three,
Can tell the tale of Sam McGee,
While Tom, my son, that’s only two
Has heard the yarn of Dan McGrew. . . .
Don’t think your stuff I’m not applaudin’ –
My taste is Eliot and Auden.
So we gravely bade adieu
I felt quite snubbed – and so would you,
And yet I shook him by the hand,
Impressed that he could understand
The works of those two tops I mention,
So far beyond my comprehension –
A humble bard of boys and barmen,
Disdained, alas! by Pullman carmen.

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