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White Christmas Analysis



Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 1

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My folks think I'm a serving maid

Each time I visit home;

They do not dream I ply a trade

As old as Greece or Rome;

For if they found I'd fouled their name

And was not white as snow,

I'm sure that they would die of shame . . .

Please, God, they'll never know.



I clean the paint from off my face,

In sober black I dress;

Of coquetry I leave no trace

To give them vague distress;

And though it causes me a pang

To play such sorry tricks,

About my neck I meekly hang

A silver crufix.



And so with humble step I go

Just like a child again,

To greet their Christmas candle-glow,

A soul without a stain;

So well I play my contrite part

I make myself believe

There's not a stain within my heart

On Holy Christmas Eve.



With double natures we are vext,

And what we feel, we are;

A saint one day, a sinner next,

A red light or a star;

A prostitute or proselyte,

And in each part sincere:

So I become a vestal white

One week in every year.



For this I say without demur

From out life's lurid lore,

Each righteous woman has in her

A tincture of the whore;

While every harpy of the night,

As I have learned too well;

Holds in her heart a heaven-light

To ransom her from hell.




So I'll go home and sweep and dust;

I'll make the kitchen fire,

And be a model of daughters just

The best they could desire;

I'll fondle them and cook their food,

And Mother dear will say:

"Thank God! my darling is as good

As when she went away."



But after New Year's Day I'll fill

My bag and though they grieve,

I'll bid them both good-bye until

Another Christmas Eve;

And then . . . a knock upon the door:

I'll find them waiting there,

And angel-like I'll come once more

In answer to their prayer.



Then Lo! one night when candle-light

Gleams mystic on the snow,

And music swells of Christmas bells,

I'll come, no more to go:

The old folks need my love and care,

Their gold shall gild my dross,

And evermore my breast shall bear

My little silver cross.






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