The Telegraph Operator

by

Robert Service


I will not wash my face;

I will not brush my hair;

I "pig" about the place —

There's nobody to care.

Nothing but rock and tree;

Nothing but wood and stone;

Oh God, it's hell to be

Alone, alone, alone.


Snow-peaks and deep-gashed draws

Corral me in a ring.

I feel as if I was

The only living thing.

On all this blighted earth;

And so I frowst and shrink,

And crouching by my hearth,

I hear the thoughts I think.


I think of all I miss —

The boys I used to know;

The girls I used to kiss;

The coin I used to blow:

The bars I used to haunt;

The racket and the row;

The beers I didn't want

(I wish I had 'em now).


Day after day the same,

Only a little worse;

No one to grouch or blame—

Oh, for a loving curse!

Oh, in the night I fear,

Haunted by nameless things,

Just for a voice to cheer,

Just for a hand that clings!


Faintly as from a star

Voices come o'er the line;

Voices of ghosts afar,

Not in this world of mine.

Lives in whose loom I grope;

Words in whose weft I hear

Eager the thrill of hope,

Awful the chill of fear.


I'm thinking out aloud;

I reckon that is bad;

(The snow is like a shroud)—

Maybe I'm going mad.

Say! wouldn't that be tough?

This awful hush that hugs

And chokes one is enough

To make a man go "bugs."


There's not a thing to do;

I cannot sleep at night;

No wonder I'm so blue;

Oh, for a friendly fight!

The din and rush of strife;

A music-hall aglow;

A crowd, a city, life —

Dear God, I miss it so!


Here, you have moped enough!

Brace up and play the game!

But say, it's awful tough—

Day after day the same

(I've said that twice, I bet).

Well, there's not much to say.

I wish I had a pet,

Or something I could play.


Cheer up! don't get so glum

And sick of everything;

The worst is yet to come;

God help you till the Spring.

God shield you from the Fear;

Teach you to laugh, not moan.

Ha!ha! it sounds so queer—

Alone, alone, alone.



(1909)



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