One of my all-time favorite poets: I just came across this poem on the 'net and it sort of struck me. If you haven't heard of him-- he also wrote The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Spell of the Yukon, some of his more famous ones.
The Man Who Knew
The Dreamer visioned Life as it might be,
And from his dream forthright a picture grew,
A painting all the people thronged to see,
And joyed therein -- till came the Man Who Knew,
Saying: "'Tis bad! Why do ye gape, ye fools!
He painteth not according to the schools."
The Dreamer probed Life's mystery of woe,
And in a book he sought to give the clue;
The people read, and saw that it was so,
And read again -- then came the Man Who Knew,
Saying: "Ye witless ones! this book is vile:
It hath not got the rudiments of style."
Love smote the Dreamer's lips, and silver clear
He sang a song so sweet, so tender true,
That all the market-place was thrilled to hear,
And listened rapt -- till came the Man Who Knew,
Saying: "His technique's wrong; he singeth ill.
Waste not your time." The singer's voice was still.
And then the people roused as if from sleep,
Crying: "What care we if it be not Art!
Hath he not charmed us, made us laugh and weep?
Come, let us crown him where he sits apart."
Then, with his picture spurned, his book unread,
His song unsung, they found their Dreamer -- dead.
I think this might relate to Service's life a little-his poetry was often criticized as not really having any literary or poetic value, to which he replied once: "Verse, not poetry, is what I was after -- something the man in the street would take notice of and the sweet old lady would paste in her album; something the schoolboy would spout and the fellow in the pub would quote."
And an article added: Yet this sort of popular poetry is all too often (and unfairly) dismissed, on the grounds (I assume) that if it's popular enough for the man in the street to remember, it's not something that's worthy of serious consideration.
I think that this relates to The Man Who Knew very well.
(cross-posting to my journal)