Ballads of a Cheechako

Robert W. Service

The Telegraph Operator

I will not wash my face;
 I will not brush my hair;
I "pig" around 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 by Robert W. Service

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