'Fleurette' by Robert W. Service

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The Wounded Canadian Speaks:
My leg? It's off at the knee.
Do I miss it? Well, some. You see
I've had it since I was born;
And lately a devilish corn.
I rather chuckle with glee
To think how I've fooled that corn.)

But I'll hobble around all right.
It isn't that, it's my face.
Oh, I know I'm a hideous sight,
Hardly a thing in place.
Sort of gargoyle, you'd say.
Nurse won't give me a glass,
But I see the folks as they pass
Shudder and turn away;
Turn away in distress . . .
Mirror enough, I guess.

I'm gay! You bet I am gay,
But I wasn't a while ago.
If you'd seen me even to-day,
The darnedest picture of woe,
With this Caliban mug of mine,
So ravaged and raw and red,
Turned to the wall -- in fine
Wishing that I was dead. . . .
What has happened since then,
Since I lay with my face to the wall,
The most despairing of men!
Listen! I'll tell you all.

That poilu across the way,
With the shrapnel wound on his head,
Has a sister: she came to-day
To sit awhile by his bed.
All morning I heard him fret:
"Oh, when will she come,

Then sudden, a joyous cry;
The tripping of little feet;
The softest, tenderest sigh;
A voice so fresh and sweet;
Clear as a silver bell,
Fresh as the morning dews:
"C'est toi, cest toi, Marcel!
Mon frère, comme je suis heureuse!"

So over the blanket's rim
I raised my terrible face,
And I saw -- how I envied him!
A girl of such delicate grace;
Sixteen, all laughter and love;
As gay as a linnet, and yet
As tenderly sweet as a dove;
Half woman, half child --

Then I turned to the wall again.
(I was awfully blue, you see,)
And I thought with a bitter pain:
"Such visions are not for me."
So there like a log I lay,
All hidden, I thought, from view,
When sudden I heard her say,
"Ah! Who is that malheureux?"
Then briefly I heard him tell
(However he came to know)
How I'd smothered a bomb that fell
Into the trench, and so
None of my men were hit,
Though it busted me up a bit.

Well, I didn't quiver an eye,
And he chattered and there she sat;
And I fancied I heard her sigh --
But I wouldn't just swear that.
And maybe she wasn't so bright,
Though she talked in a merry strain,
And I closed my eyes ever so tight,
Yet I saw her ever so plain:
Her dear little tilted nose,
Her delicate, dimpled chin,
Her mouth like a budding rose,
And the glistening pearls within;
Her eyes like the violet:
Such a rare little queen --

And last last when she rose to go,
The light was a little dim,
And I ventured to peep, and so
I saw her, graceful and slim,
And she kissed him and kissed him, and oh
How I envied and envied him.
So when she was gone I said
In rather a dreary voice
To him of the opposite bed:
"Ah, friend, how you must rejoice!
But me, I'm a thing of dread.
For me nevermore the bliss
The thrill of a woman's kiss."

Then I stopped, for lo! she was there,
And a great light whone in her eyes.
And me! I could only stare,
I was taken so by surprise,
When gently she bent her head:
"May I kiss you, sergeant?" she said.
Then she kissed my burning lips,
With her mouth like a scented flower,
And I thrilled to the finger-tips,
And I hadn't even the power
To say: "God bless you, dear!"
And I felt such a precious tear
Fall on my withered cheek,
And darn it, I couldn't speak.

And so she went sadly away,
And I know that my eyes were wet.
Ah, not to my dying day
Will I forget, forget!
Can you wonder now I am gay?
God bless her, that little Fleurette!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Fleurette: A Classic Poetic Masterpiece

Robert W. Service was a Canadian poet who was known for his ability to capture the essence of nature and the human experience through his poetry. His works were often grounded in reality, and he was able to convey powerful emotions through his writing. One of his most famous poems, Fleurette, is a masterpiece that showcases his skill as a poet.

Overview of the Poem

Fleurette is a poem about a young girl named Fleurette who lives in the mountains. The poem describes her life and her connection to nature. It is a beautiful and poignant poem that captures the essence of childhood innocence and the wonder of nature.

Analysis of the Poem

The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABCCBA, which gives the poem a flowing rhythm. The poem is written from the perspective of an observer who is watching Fleurette from a distance. This perspective allows the reader to see Fleurette in a different light and appreciate her beauty and innocence.

The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the reader to Fleurette. The first line, "In the mountain village lived a maid," immediately draws the reader into the poem and sets the scene. The second line, "Poised and pretty, though afraid," gives the reader a glimpse into Fleurette's character. She is beautiful but also fearful, which makes her more relatable.

The third line, "Blushing as the breezes played," creates a vivid image of Fleurette's innocence and vulnerability. The fourth line, "She would shun the noisy crowd," shows that Fleurette is not interested in the superficial things of life. She prefers to be alone in nature.

The fifth line, "Love the valley's peace endowed," shows that Fleurette finds peace and happiness in nature. The final line, "Nature gave her of her best," highlights the idea that Fleurette is a part of nature and that she is in harmony with it.

The second stanza focuses on Fleurette's connection to nature. The first line of the stanza, "She would climb the mountain crest," shows that Fleurette is not afraid to explore the world around her. The second line, "And lay her down on mossy rest," creates a vivid image of Fleurette lying on the soft moss while looking up at the sky.

The third line, "With her ear upon the ground," shows that Fleurette is connected to nature in a profound way. She is able to hear the sounds of nature and feel its vibrations. The fourth line, "She would listen to the sound," highlights the idea that Fleurette is able to understand nature in a way that most people cannot.

The fifth line, "Of the forest's heart profound," shows that Fleurette is able to understand the deep mysteries of nature. She is able to hear the heartbeat of the forest and feel its pulse. The final line, "Nature taught her, and she knew," shows that Fleurette is wise beyond her years and that nature has taught her many things.

The third stanza focuses on Fleurette's future. The first line, "In the mountain village died," shows that Fleurette's life was short but meaningful. The second line, "All the valley mourned its pride," shows that Fleurette was loved and respected by her community.

The third line, "Thronged the church at eventide," shows that Fleurette's funeral was a significant event in the community. The fourth line, "And the sunset glorified," highlights the idea that Fleurette's death was a beautiful and peaceful event.

The fifth line, "Nature, too, was solemn-eyed," shows that even nature mourned Fleurette's passing. The final line, "For it knew that Fleurette died," highlights the idea that Fleurette was a part of nature and that her passing was felt by all.

Themes of the Poem

The poem touches on several themes, including the beauty of nature, the innocence of childhood, and the transience of life. The beauty of nature is highlighted throughout the poem, with Fleurette finding peace and happiness in the mountains and forests. The innocence of childhood is also celebrated, with Fleurette embodying the purity and wonder of a child.

The transience of life is also a significant theme, with Fleurette's short life serving as a reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish every moment. The poem also touches on the idea that we are all a part of nature and that our passing is felt by the natural world.


In conclusion, Fleurette is a beautiful and poignant poem that captures the essence of childhood innocence and the wonder of nature. Robert W. Service was a master poet who was able to convey powerful emotions through his writing. Fleurette is a testament to his skill as a poet and will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Fleurette: A Masterpiece of Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service, the renowned poet and writer, is known for his exceptional ability to capture the essence of human emotions and experiences in his works. One of his most celebrated poems, Poetry Fleurette, is a masterpiece that beautifully portrays the power of poetry and its ability to evoke strong emotions in the reader.

The poem begins with the speaker describing a beautiful flower, a fleurette, which he has picked from a garden. He then goes on to compare the beauty and fragrance of the fleurette to that of poetry, which he believes is the most beautiful and powerful form of expression. The speaker describes how poetry has the ability to transport the reader to different worlds and evoke a range of emotions, from joy to sorrow.

The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of poetry. In the first stanza, the speaker describes the beauty of poetry and how it can transport the reader to different worlds. He compares poetry to a "magic carpet" that can take the reader on a journey to far-off lands and exotic places. The speaker also describes how poetry can evoke a range of emotions, from the joy of love to the sorrow of loss.

In the second stanza, the speaker explores the power of poetry to heal and comfort. He describes how poetry can provide solace to those who are suffering and how it can help them find peace and comfort in difficult times. The speaker also emphasizes the importance of poetry in preserving memories and experiences, and how it can help us remember the people and places that are important to us.

In the final stanza, the speaker reflects on the enduring nature of poetry and how it can transcend time and space. He describes how poetry can live on long after the poet has passed away, and how it can continue to inspire and move people for generations to come. The speaker also emphasizes the importance of poetry in connecting people across different cultures and languages, and how it can help us understand and appreciate the diversity of the human experience.

Overall, Poetry Fleurette is a beautiful and powerful poem that celebrates the beauty and power of poetry. Through vivid imagery and evocative language, Robert W. Service captures the essence of what makes poetry so special and important to us as human beings. Whether you are a lover of poetry or simply appreciate the beauty of language, this poem is sure to move and inspire you.

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