Never Give Up


*This is a portion of a post from 2010.

One of my favorite poets is Robert Service. Not one for flowery language or what one might call “pretty prose,” his writing was biting and full of grit- sort of like a punch to the gut (but in a good way).  The one poem that stays with me still to this day is The Quitter.  Growing up, I had a copy of The Quitter in a frame hanging on the wall of my bedroom as a constant reminder that giving up is never an option.

The Quitter

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye.
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and…die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow…
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know-but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten-and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight-
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try-it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

~Robert Service

0 thoughts on “Never Give Up

    • I thought of you when I reposted this, my dear. It’s a great poem. I plan to frame and hang it in AnneShirley’s room too. 🙂 Hugs.

  1. oh I can see why you like him do much, and his influence on your writing too. Thank you for sharing, I believe I needed some Robert Service in my life.

    • Hey Liz! I was fed a steady diet of Robert Service as a child. I memorized several of his poems – Cremation of Sam McGee, The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill, The Quitter. I love his work You just paid me a huge compliment. So THANK YOU! 🙂

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