Thursday, June 3, 2010

Belated Birthday

I know. G.K. Chesterton's birthday was last Saturday (he was born May 29th, 1874), but I didn't quite get around to posting anything, what with spending a most pleasant evening with some kin who happened to be in town. Immediately after that I went up to spend Memorial Day with some kith in the mountains, and therefore both pleasantness and lack of posting were extended several days.

But a weekend of inestimably engaging conversation and company, mixed with a heavy dose of high granite mountains, pines, and hints of rain left me so delighted that I, this morning, found the last line of the poem below running through my head. Chesterton gets his due after all.

The Great Minimum

It is something to have wept as we have wept,
It is something to have done as we have done,
It is something to have watched when all men slept,
And seen the stars which never see the sun.

It is something to have smelt the mystic rose,
Although it break and leave the thorny rods,
It is something to have hungered once as those
Must hunger who have ate the bread of gods.

To have seen you and your unforgotten face,
Brave as a blast of trumpets for the fray,
Pure as white lilies in a watery space,
It were something, though you went from me today.

To have known the things that from the weak are furled,
Perilous ancient passions, strange and high;
It is something to be wiser than the world,
It is something to be older than the sky.

In a time of sceptic moths and cynic rusts,
And fattened lives that of their sweetness tire
In a world of flying loves and fading lusts,
It is something to be sure of a desire.

Lo, blessed are our ears for they have heard;
Yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen:
Let the thunder break on man and beast and bird
And the lightning. It is something to have been.

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