Monday, January 22, 2007

Game Est


1. When did you first read a Chesterton book, story, or poem, and which was it?
The Complete Father Brown, as soon as I read The Shadow of the Bear. By the time this is post is published, that will be five years ago.

2. What was the most recent of GKC's writings you read?
The Everlasting Man, and I'm still re-reading it.

3. Which is your favorite book, poem - or quote?
How is one to choose??? However, since I've only scratched the surface of Chesterton's works, I can safely say "all that I have read so far." I also have a voluminous scrapbook of quotes.

4. Which would you recommend to a beginner?
I am in no position to recommend something to a beginner, being one still myself. However, for a first book, something with an intriguing narrative thread would be advisable. Maybe The Man Who Knew Too Much, or The Man who was Thursday, and of course, Father Brown.

5. What is the most unusual fact or quirky detail you know about G.K.Chesterton?
One that I'm sure everyone else knows.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It looks like a meme to me...

Here goes:

1. When did you first read a Chesterton book, story, or poem, and which was it? I don't remember when exactly but it must have been about four years ago. I read the Father Brown mysteries. The Blue Cross was the first one I read, and it remains one of my favorites.

2. What was the most recent of GKC's writings you read? I'm reading The Man Who Was Thursday right now. I've read it before, but I'm going back again to digest it better.

3. Which is your favorite book, poem - or quote? Of course it's excruciatingly difficult to choose a favorite quote but probably this one from Orthodoxy:
"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

4. Which would you recommend to a beginner? Father Brown, I suppose.

5. What is the most unusual fact or quirky detail you know about G.K.Chesterton? The most unusual fact about him, that I know of, is that he is such a character and yet no one knows about him.

I can't wait to read everyone else's!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Poetry Friday- An excerpt from The Ballad of the White Horse

An excerpt from the third book of the Ballad of the White Horse:

When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword
And sent him forth a free knight
that might betray his Lord,

He brake him and betrayed him
And fast and far he fell
Till you and I may stretch our necks
And burn our beards in hell,

But though I lie on the floor of the world
With the seven sins for rods
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods,

What have the strong gods given,
Where have the glad gods lead?
When Guthrum sits on a hero's throne
And asks if he is dead,

Sirs I am but a nameless man,
A rhymster without a home
But since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome,
I will even answer the mighty Earl
that asked of Wessex men

Why they be meek and monkish folk
and bow to the white Lord's broken yoke
What sign have we save blood and smoke
Here is my answer then:

That on you is fallen the shadow
And not upon the name
That though we scatter and though we fly
And you hang over us like the sky
You are more tired of victory
Then we are tired of shame,

That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hillside
The hare has still more heart to run
Then you have heart to ride,

That though all lances split on you
All swords be heaved in vain
We have more lust again to lose
then you to win again,

Your lord sits high in the sadle
A broken hearted king
But our king Alfred lost from fame
Fallen among foes or bonds of shame
In I know not what mean trade or name
Has still some song to sing,

Our monks go clothed in rain and snow
But the heart of flame therein
But you go clothed in feasts and flames
While all is ice within,

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wondering ceaslessly
If it be not better to fast for joy
Then feast for misery,

Nor monkish order only
Slides down as field to fen
All things achieved and chosen pass
As the white horse fades in the grass
No work of human man,

Ere the sad gods that made your gods
Saw their sad sunrise pass
The white horse of the white horse vale
That you have left to darken and fail
Was cut out of the grass,

Therefore your end is on you
On you and on your kings
Not for a fire in Elly fen
Not that your gods are nine or ten
But because it is only christian men
Guard even heathen things,

For our God hath blessed creation
Calling it good I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand
Yet by God's death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow.


I've just finished this book the Three Wise Men gave me as a present, Manalive. Well, in fact, I finished it a long time ago and I must tell you it's a fantastic book. I don't know why, but when I read Chesterton I feel like letting the the world know that this fellow is a genius !

This is one of the parts I most liked. I know it's a bit long to be just a part, but as far as I'm concerned, I'd quote the whole book. Actually, I've read a spanish translation and I wouldn't be able to quote a word if I hadn't managed to find this webpage :

''`Let me come off this place,' he cried; `I can't bear it.'
"`I rather doubt if it will bear you,' said Smith critically; `but before you break your neck, or I blow out your brains, or let you back into this room (on which complex points I am undecided) I want the metaphysical point cleared up. Do I understand that you want to get back to life?'
"`I'd give anything to get back,' replied the unhappy professor.
"`Give anything!' cried Smith; `then, blast your impudence, give us a song!'
"`What song do you mean?' demanded the exasperated Eames; `what song?'
"`A hymn, I think, would be most appropriate,' answered the other gravely. `I'll let you off if you'll repeat after me the words--

"`I thank the goodness and the grace
That on my birth have smiled.
And perched me on this curious place,
A happy English child.'

"Dr. Emerson Eames having briefly complied, his persecutor abruptly told him to hold his hands up in the air. Vaguely connecting this proceeding with the usual conduct of brigands and bushrangers, Mr. Eames held them up, very stiffly, but without marked surprise. A bird alighting on his stone seat took no more notice of him than of a comic statue.
"`You are now engaged in public worship,' remarked Smith severely, `and before I have done with you, you shall thank God for the very ducks on the pond.'
"`The celebrated pessimist half articulately expressed his perfect readiness to thank God for the ducks on the pond.
"`Not forgetting the drakes,' said Smith sternly. (Eames weakly conceded the drakes.) `Not forgetting anything, please. You shall thank heaven for churches and chapels and villas and vulgar people and puddles and pots and pans and sticks and rags and bones and spotted blinds.'
"`All right, all right,' repeated the victim in despair; `sticks and rags and bones and blinds.'
"`Spotted blinds, I think we said,' remarked Smith with a rogueish ruthlessness, and wagging the pistol-barrel at him like a long metallic finger.
"`Spotted blinds,' said Emerson Eames faintly.
"`You can't say fairer than that,' admitted the younger man, `and now I'll just tell you this to wind up with. If you really were what you profess to be, I don't see that it would matter to snail or seraph if you broke your impious stiff neck and dashed out all your drivelling devil-worshipping brains. But in strict biographical fact you are a very nice fellow, addicted to talking putrid nonsense, and I love you like a brother. I shall therefore fire off all my cartridges round your head so as not to hit you (I am a good shot, you may be glad to hear), and then we will go in and have some breakfast.'
"He then let off two barrels in the air, which the Professor endured with singular firmness, and then said, `But don't fire them all off.'
"`Why not' asked the other buoyantly.
"`Keep them,' asked his companion, `for the next man you meet who talks as we were talking.'

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"By the Babe Unborn"

If trees were tall and grasses short,

As in some crazy tale,

If here and there a sea were blue

Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air

To warm me one day through,

If deep green hair grew on great hills,

I know what I should do.

In dark I lie; dreaming that there

Are great eyes cold or kind,

And twisted streets and silent doors,

And living men behind.

Let storm clouds come: better an hour,

And leave to weep and fight,

Than all the ages I have ruled

The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave

Within the world to stand,

I would be good through all the day

I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me

Of selfishness or scorn,

If only I could find the door,

If only I were born.

That poem by Chesterton I found here:

It was a good poem to read in the midst of Pro-Life month. The unborn child is still a precious child that we must protect.

God Bless,

Introducing Myself


My name is Randall, and I am currently a high school senior. I am 17 years old, and have been raised Catholic all my life. I had been exposed to works by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, but I had never even heard of Chesterton until I stumbled upon the American Chesterton Society site while I was hanging out at Catholic sites.

Reading about him, I knew subconsciously that this was an author I would like. So a few months later, I picked up a copy of Orthodoxy at the bookstore, and by the end, I was hooked. I was exclaiming, "This Chesterton guy is genius!" So over the past month or two I have been reading some poetry, essays, and one book (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare). I'm still quite a newbie with Chesterton, but I'm planning to read more of his work as soon as possible. I'm rereading Orthodoxy right now, because I just read it the last time. I want to go more in depth with it.

I would say my two favorite quotes by Chesterton are:

"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." - G.K. Chesterton


"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

Interests: guitar, music, art, reading, writing, video games, computers, basketball, and photography.

If there's anything else you want to know, just ask! I'm happy to chat!

God Bless,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poetry Fridays-To the Unknown Warrior

You whom the kings saluted; who refused not
The one great pleasure of ignoble days,
Fame without name and glory without gossip,
Whom no biographer befouls with praise.

Who said of you "Defeated"? In the darkness
The dug-out where the limelight never comes,
Nor the big drum of Barnum's show can shatter
That vibrant stillness after all the drums.

Though the time comes when every Yankee circus
Can use our soldiers for its sandwich-men,
When those that pay the piper call the tune,
You will not dance. You will not move again.

You will not march for Fatty Arbuckle,
Though he have yet a favourable press,
Tender as San Francisco to St. Francis
Or all the angels of Los Angeles.

They shall not storm the last unfallen fortress,
The lonely castle where uncowed and free,
Dwells the unknown and undefeated warrior
That did alone defeat Publicity.

And yes this is from poem hunter too (:

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Another from poem hunter (By GKC of course), which is an interesting site to browse.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Poetry Fridays-Eternities


I cannot count the pebbles in the brook.
Well hath He spoken: "Swear not by thy head.
Thou knowest not the hairs," though He, we read,
Writes that wild number in His own strange book.

I cannot count the sands or search the seas,
Death cometh, and I leave so much untrod.
Grant my immortal aureole, O my God,
And I will name the leaves upon the trees,

In heaven I shall stand on gold and glass,
Still brooding earth's arithmetic to spell;
Or see the fading of the fires of hell
Ere I have thanked my God for all the grass.

Found this on Poem Hunter.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Child of the Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive rain.

Never we know but in sleet and snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth is a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

-G.K. Chesterton

We found this last night in O Holy Night, a collection of Christmas poetry, from Sophia Institute Press.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Chesterton for Christmas

"All this indescribable thing that we call the Christmas atmosphere only hangs in the air as something like a lingering fragrance or fading vapour from the exultant explosion of that one hour in the Judean hills nearly two thousand years ago. But the savour is still unmistakable, and it is something too subtle or too solitary to be covered by our use of the word peace. By the very nature of the story the rejoicings in the cavern were rejoicings in a fortress or an outlaw's den; properly understood it is not unduly flippant to say they were rejoicings in a dug-out. It is not only true that such a subterranean chamber was a hiding-place from enemies; and that the enemies were already scouring the stony plain that lay above it like a sky. It is not only that the very horse-hoofs of Herod might in that sense have passed like thunder over the sunken head of Christ. It is also that there is in that image a true idea of an outpost, of a piercing through the rock and an entrance into an enemy territory. There is in this buried divinity an idea of undermining the world; of shaking the towers and palaces from below; even as Herod the great king felt that earthquake under him and swayed with his swaying palace."

"The hands that made the sun and the stars were too small to reach the huge
heads of the cattle."

And a few more here and here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!!!