Is it possible that the planet was actually Jupiter? In that case, the story may be Isaac Asimov's Victory Unintentional.
To what extent do the characteristics of both descriptions (question and Wikipedia article) match?
"three robots": ZZ One, ZZ Two, and ZZ Three,
"spaceship designed for them": "spacecraft ... does not need to ...
The Poem is 'Rags' by Edmund Vance Cooke, and the verse you partially recall is
And if there's no heaven for love like that,
For such four-legged fealty—well!
If I have any choice, I tell you flat,
I'll take my chance in hell.
It's actually a pretty gruesome tale, Rags saves the narrators life twice on the Front and is brought back to the UK with the ...
This was already identified by Quassnoi here!
The poem is ‘The Water Zoo’ by “Evoe” (a pseudonym for E. V. Knox), published in Punch, 9th April 1924. The fragments your father remembered were well-recalled! Here’s how they correspond to the original lines:
“Today I saw 10,000 fish observing me with solemn eyes. In the aquarium.”
To-day I have seen all I ...
This sounds like The Man in My Basement (2004) by Walter Mosley. From a review on goodreads.com:
The story begins with a strange request: a wealthy white man named Bennet asks to rent out the basement of the home of Charles Blakey, who is black. Bennet builds a cage in the basement, and eventually locks himself inside it. Blakey is confused by the man’s ...
Although it doesn't specifically contain the line you paraphrased, her poem titled "Life While-You-Wait", from 1976, describes the sentiment expressed in it, i.e. that life isn't scripted and can't be planned, and you have to take it as it comes and improvise. Perhaps this is the poem you're referring to?
Here are a few excerpts, in a translation ...
It is, apparently, a German story of the type
The Two Travelers: Truth and Falsehood
folktale of Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 613
Unsurprisingly, the tables are turned by the end of the tale.
"What?" said the tailor. "Haul bread for seven days on one's back like a beast of burden and not be able ...
Your recollections match very well (I would say, precisely) a pretty famous Russian poem by Samuil Marshak, Рассеянный с улицы Бассейной, written in 1930. I found quite a number of English translations in Internet, but they all seem to be fairly recent and amateurish, so I cannot point the version you have read.
The best bet is to find a paper edition of ...
The book to which you are referring is entitled "The Lark and the Laurel", by Barbara Willard. It is the first in a series of five books about England in the time beginning in 1485. The main character's name is Cecily Jolland. Due to the fact that her father has to flee England because of Henry Tudor's accession to the throne she is put in ...