'A collected poems' is either a gravestone or a testimonial to survival
by Robert William Service
Said Brown: 'I can't afford to die
For I have bought annuity,
And every day of living I
Have money coming in to me:
While others toil to make their bread
I make mine by not being dead.'
Said Jones: 'I can't afford to die,
For I have books and books to write.
I do not care for pelf but I
Would versify my visions bright;
Emotions noble in my breast
By worthy words should be expressed.'
Said Smith: 'I can't afford to die,
Because my life is kindly planned;
So many on my care rely,
For comfort and a helping hand.
Too many weak ones need me so,
And will be woeful when I go.'
Then Death appraisingly looked down,
Saying: 'Your time's up, Mister Brown.
And I am sorry, Mister Jones,
The earth is ready for your bones.
Friend Smith, although you're overdue
Your lease of living we'll renew . . .
Both fame and fortune far above,
What matters in the end is--Love.'