The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton

g-k-chesterton

GK Chesterton is one of the few authors that can bewilder my imagination to such an extend that after he describes a furious and passionate sunset and says that the sky seem so small to contain it…I would nod and agree with him…

If that didn’t tease you enough here is the opening poem to  his detective novel, The Man Who Was Thursday.

Cheers,

Caleb

The Man Who Was Thursday,  A Nightmare by GK Chesterton

To Edmund Clerihew Bentley

A cloud was on the mind of men, and wailing went the weather, 
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul when we were boys together. 
Science announced nonentity and art admired decay; 
The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay; 
Round us in antic order their crippled vices came — 
Lust that had lost its laughter, fear that had lost its shame. 
Like the white lock of Whistler, that lit our aimless gloom, 
Men showed their own white feather as proudly as a plume. 
Life was a fly that faded, and death a drone that stung; 
The world was very old indeed when you and I were young. 
They twisted even decent sin to shapes not to be named: 
Men were ashamed of honour; but we were not ashamed. 
Weak if we were and foolish, not thus we failed, not thus; 
When that black Baal blocked the heavens he had no hymns from us 
Children we were — our forts of sand were even as weak as eve, 
High as they went we piled them up to break that bitter sea. 
Fools as we were in motley, all jangling and absurd, 
When all church bells were silent our cap and beds were heard.

Not all unhelped we held the fort, our tiny flags unfurled; 
Some giants laboured in that cloud to lift it from the world. 
I find again the book we found, I feel the hour that flings 
Far out of fish-shaped Paumanok some cry of cleaner things; 
And the Green Carnation withered, as in forest fires that pass, 
Roared in the wind of all the world ten million leaves of grass; 
Or sane and sweet and sudden as a bird sings in the rain — 
Truth out of Tusitala spoke and pleasure out of pain. 
Yea, cool and clear and sudden as a bird sings in the grey, 
Dunedin to Samoa spoke, and darkness unto day. 
But we were young; we lived to see God break their bitter charms. 
God and the good Republic come riding back in arms: 
We have seen the City of Mansoul, even as it rocked, relieved — 
Blessed are they who did not see, but being blind, believed. 

This is a tale of those old fears, even of those emptied hells, 
And none but you shall understand the true thing that it tells — 
Of what colossal gods of shame could cow men and yet crash, 
Of what huge devils hid the stars, yet fell at a pistol flash. 
The doubts that were so plain to chase, so dreadful to withstand — 
Oh, who shall understand but you; yea, who shall understand? 
The doubts that drove us through the night as we two talked amain, 
And day had broken on the streets e’er it broke upon the brain. 
Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told; 
Yea, there is strength in striking root and good in growing old. 
We have found common things at last and marriage and a creed, 
And I may safely write it now, and you may safely read. 

G. K. C.

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2 thoughts on “The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton”

  1. There is much Truth in GKC verse Caleb and yes as he said there is good in growing old too. I have always had Love and respect for the Elderly, God tells us, their grey hair shows they have life wisdom and if they have asked they have God’s wisdom and empowering too but of course we can have this at any age.

    I’m called by most Children I know and some Adults too, Grannie Annie and I love it, yes I now also have grey hair, my own Children didn’t survive but my heart and arms have been full of other Peoples Children over the years and still are, how can we ever Thank God enough for His constant Love and Compassion, in life it is Him we are to focus on and than we can rejoice when He says to us; well done good and faithful Servant.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

    1. That is very true. The way my parents took care of my grandparents tough me a lot about the dignity of human life no matter how young or how old. It was a great witness to me…God works in mysterious ways and I am sure he has place many of those children in your path so that you can reflect unto them that love that is in your heart.

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