Welcome to this weekend's entry in our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry - The Low-Down White by Robert W Service, recorded live before an audience from the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and elsewhere on the recent Mark Steyn Cruise.
Robert W Service is, of course, the Bard of the Yukon, beloved by millions for "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", which are as well known as any poems of the twentieth century, albeit held in generally low regard by the critics. All over the world, you'll find people who recognize instantly the first lines of each poem:
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up...
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold...
Indeed, there are - and today's piece is about some of the less attractive things a man can be driven to live with on the nights when the boys are whooping it up. The Low-Down White comes from the same collection as Dan McGrew and Sam McGee, Songs of a Sourdough, published in 1907, and is a particular favorite of mine in its spare, economical sketch of a man's life. In this video I discuss the background to the work and its author, and then give it a go. To watch The Low-Down White, please click here and log-in.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time and our music specials, we're archiving our video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest of a weekend, whether Kipling or Keats. One other bonus of Steyn Club membership is that you can enjoy much of our content in whichever is your preferred form - video, audio, text. So, if you'd rather hear me read The Low-Down White off-camera, please click here.
Steyn's Sunday Poem is made possible by members of The Mark Steyn Club. We launched the Steyn Club over two years ago, and in this our third season I'm immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars - from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay - who've signed up to be a part of it. Membership in The Mark Steyn Club also comes with non-poetic benefits, including:
~Our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time, and its thirty-one thrilling predecessors;
~Other audio series on pertinent topics, such as our recent nightly installments of Climate Change: The Facts;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as last Wednesday's and this coming Friday's);
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark's Mailbox, The Mark Steyn Show, and other video content, including today's poem;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, including exclusive members-only events such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~The opportunity to join me and my guests on our annual Mark Steyn Cruise;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you like or dislike this feature, or consider my poem reading a bust, then feel free to comment away below. Please do stay on topic on all our comment threads, because that's the way to keep them focused and readable. With that caution, have at it (in verse, if you wish).