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Best Famous G K Chesterton Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous G K Chesterton poems. This is a select list of the best famous G K Chesterton poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous G K Chesterton poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of G K Chesterton poems.

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by G K Chesterton | |

The Last Hero

 WE laid him to rest with tenderness;
Homeward we turned in the twilight’s gold;
We thought in ourselves with dumb distress—
All the story of earth is told.
A beautiful word at the last was said: A great deep heart like the hearts of old Went forth; and the speaker had lost the thread, Or all the story of earth was told.
The dust hung over the pale dry ways Dizzily fired with the twilight’s gold, And a bitter remembrance blew in each face How all the story of earth was told.


by G K Chesterton | |

A Prayer in Darkness

 This much, O heaven—if I should brood or rave, 
Pity me not; but let the world be fed, 
Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead, 
Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.
If I dare snarl between this sun and sod, Whimper and clamour, give me grace to own, In sun and rain and fruit in season shown, The shining silence of the scorn of God.
Thank God the stars are set beyond my power, If I must travail in a night of wrath, Thank God my tears will never vex a moth, Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.
Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had Thought it beat brightly, even on—Calvary: And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Song of the Oak

 The Druids waved their golden knives 
And danced around the Oak 
When they had sacrificed a man; 
But though the learned search and scan 
No single modern person can 
Entirely see the joke.
But though they cut the throats of men They cut not down the tree, And from the blood the saplings spring Of oak-woods yet to be.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, He rots the tree as ivy would, He clings and crawls as ivy would About the sacred tree.
King Charles he fled from Worcester fight And hid him in the Oak; In convent schools no man of tact Would trace and praise his every act, Or argue that he was in fact A strict and sainted bloke.
But not by him the sacred woods Have lost their fancies free, And though he was extremely big He did not break the tree.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, He breaks the tree as ivy would, And eats the woods as ivy would Between us and the sea.
Great Collingwood walked down the glade And flung the acorns free, That oaks might still be in the grove As oaken as the beams above, When the great Lover sailors love Was kissed by Death at sea.
But though for him the oak-trees fell To build the oaken ships, The woodman worshipped what he smote And honoured even the chips.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, He hates the tree as ivy would, As the dragon of the ivy would That has us in his grips.


More great poems below...

by G K Chesterton | |

The Sword of Suprise

 Sunder me from my bones, O sword of God 
Till they stand stark and strange as do the trees; 
That I whose heart goes up with the soaring woods 
May marvel as much at these.
Sunder me from my blood that in the dark I hear that red ancestral river run Like branching buried floods that find the sea But never see the sun.
Give me miraculous eyes to see my eyes Those rolling mirrors made alive in me Terrible crystals more incredible Than all the things they see Sunder me from my soul, that I may see The sins like streaming wounds, the life's brave beat Till I shall save myself as I would save A stranger in the street.


by G K Chesterton | |

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.


by G K Chesterton | |

The World State

 Oh, how I love Humanity, 
 With love so pure and pringlish, 
And how I hate the horrid French, 
 Who never will be English! 

The International Idea, 
 The largest and the clearest, 
Is welding all the nations now, 
 Except the one that's nearest.
This compromise has long been known, This scheme of partial pardons, In ethical societies And small suburban gardens— The villas and the chapels where I learned with little labour The way to love my fellow-man And hate my next-door neighbour.


by G K Chesterton | |

The New Omar

 A Book of verses underneath the bough,
Provided that the verses do not scan,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and Thou,
Short-haired, all angles, looking like a man.
But let the wine be unfermented, Pale, Of chemicals compounded, God knows how-- This were indeed the Prophet's Paradise, O Paradise were Wilderness enow.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Song of Education

 III.
For the Creche Form 8277059, Sub-Section K I remember my mother, the day that we met, A thing I shall never entirely forget; And I toy with the fancy that, young as I am, I should know her again if we met in a tram.
But mother is happy in turning a crank That increases the balance in somebody's bank; And I feel satisfaction that mother is free From the sinister task of attending to me.
They have brightened our room, that is spacious and cool, With diagrams used in the Idiot School, And Books for the Blind that will teach us to see; But mother is happy, for mother is free.
For mother is dancing up forty-eight floors, For love of the Leeds International Stores, And the flame of that faith might perhaps have grown cold, With the care of a baby of seven weeks old.
For mother is happy in greasing a wheel For somebody else, who is cornering Steel; And though our one meeting was not very long, She took the occasion to sing me this song: "O, hush thee, my baby, the time will soon come When thy sleep will be broken with hooting and hum; There are handles want turning and turning all day, And knobs to be pressed in the usual way; O, hush thee, my baby, take rest while I croon, For Progress comes early, and Freedom too soon.
"


by G K Chesterton | |

The Latest School

 See the flying French depart
Like the bees of Bonaparte,
Swarming up with a most venomous vitality.
Over Baden and Bavaria, And Brighton and Bulgaria, Thus violating Belgian neutrality.
And the injured Prussian may Not unreasonably say "Why, it cannot be so small a nationality Since Brixton and Batavia, Bolivia and Belgravia, Are bursting with the Belgian neutrality.
" By pure Alliteration You may trace this curious nation, And respect this somewhat scattered Principality; When you see a B in Both You may take your Bible oath You are violating Belgian neutrality.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Donkey

 When forests walked and fishes flew 
And figs grew upon thorn, 
Some moment when the moon was blood, 
Then, surely, I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening bray And ears like errant wings— The devil's walking parody Of all four-footed things: The battered outlaw of the earth Of ancient crooked will; Scourge, beat, deride me—I am dumb— I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour— One far fierce hour and sweet: There was a shout around my head And palms about my feet.


by G K Chesterton | |

Elegy In A Country Churchyard

 The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.
But they that fought for England, Following a falling star, Alas, alas for England They have their graves afar.
And they that rule in England, In stately conclave met, Alas, alas for England, They have no graves as yet.


by G K Chesterton | |

A Ballad Of Suicide

 The gallows in my garden, people say,

Is new and neat and adequately tall; 
I tie the noose on in a knowing way

As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall— 
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"

The strangest whim has seized me.
.
.
.
After all I think I will not hang myself to-day.
To-morrow is the time I get my pay— My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall— I see a little cloud all pink and grey— Perhaps the rector's mother will not call— I fancy that I heard from Mr.
Gall That mushrooms could be cooked another way— I never read the works of Juvenal— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
The world will have another washing-day; The decadents decay; the pedants pall; And H.
G.
Wells has found that children play, And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall, Rationalists are growing rational— And through thick woods one finds a stream astray So secret that the very sky seems small— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
ENVOI Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal, The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way; Even to-day your royal head may fall, I think I will not hang myself to-day


by G K Chesterton | |

The Shakespeare Memorial

 Lord Lilac thought it rather rotten 
That Shakespeare should be quite forgotten, 
And therefore got on a Committee 
With several chaps out of the City, 
And Shorter and Sir Herbert Tree, 
Lord Rothschild and Lord Rosebery, 
And F.
C.
G.
and Comyn Carr Two dukes and a dramatic star, Also a clergy man now dead; And while the vain world careless sped Unheeding the heroic name -- The souls most fed with Shakespeare's flame Still sat unconquered in a ring, Remembering him like anything.
Lord Lilac did not long remain, Lord Lilac did not some again.
He softly lit a cigarette And sought some other social set Where, in some other knots or rings, People were doing cultured things.
-- Miss Zwilt's Humane Vivarium -- The little men that paint on gum -- The exquisite Gorilla Girl .
.
.
He sometimes, in this giddy whirl (Not being really bad at heart), Remembered Shakespeare with a start -- But not with that grand constancy Of Clement Shorter, Herbert Tree, Lord Rosebery and Comyn Carr And all the other names there are; Who stuck like limpets to the spot, Lest they forgot, lest they forgot.
Lord Lilac was of slighter stuff; Lord Lilac had had quite enough.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Song of Quoodle

 They haven't got no noses,
The fallen sons of Eve;
Even the smell of roses
Is not what they supposes;
But more than mind discloses
And more than men believe.
They haven't got no noses, They cannot even tell When door and darkness closes The park a Jew encloses, Where even the law of Moses Will let you steal a smell.
The brilliant smell of water, The brave smell of a stone, The smell of dew and thunder, The old bones buried under, Are things in which they blunder And err, if left alone.
The wind from winter forests, The scent of scentless flowers, The breath of brides' adorning, The smell of snare and warning, The smell of Sunday morning, God gave to us for ours * And Quoodle here discloses All things that Quoodle can, They haven't got no noses, They haven't got no noses, And goodness only knowses The Noselessness of Man.


by G K Chesterton | |

Gold Leaves

 Lo! I am come to autumn, 
When all the leaves are gold; 
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out 
The year and I are old.
In youth I sought the prince of men, Captain in cosmic wars, Our Titan, even the weeds would show Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street Seems any human nod, Where shift in strange democracy The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower Hidden in wood or wold, But I am come to autumn, When all the leaves are gold.


by G K Chesterton | |

A Cider Song

 To J.
S.
M.
The wine they drink in Paradise They make in Haute Lorraine; God brought it burning from the sod To be a sign and signal rod That they that drink the blood of God Shall never thirst again.
The wine they praise in Paradise They make in Ponterey, The purple wine of Paradise, But we have better at the price; It's wine they praise in Paradise, It's cider that they pray.
The wine they want in Paradise They find in Plodder's End, The apple wine of Herford, Of Hafod Hill and Herford, Where woods went down to Herford, And there I had a friend.
The soft feet of the blessed go In the soft western vales, The road of the silent saints accord, The road from heaven to Herford, Where the apple wood of Herford Goes all the way to Wales.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Englishman

 St George he was for England, 
And before he killed the dragon 
He drank a pint of English ale 
Out of an English flagon.
For though he fast right readily In hair-shirt or in mail, It isn't safe to give him cakes Unless you give him ale.
St George he was for England, And right gallantly set free The lady left for dragon's meat And tied up to a tree; But since he stood for England And knew what England means, Unless you give him bacon You mustn't give him beans.
St George he is for England, And shall wear the shield he wore When we go out in armour With battle-cross before.
But though he is jolly company And very pleased to dine, It isn't safe to give him nuts Unless you give him wine.


by G K Chesterton | |

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 fatted 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 thunder break on man and beast and bird And the lightning.
It is something to have been.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Rolling English Road

 Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire, And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire; A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire, And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire; But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made, Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands, The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun? The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which, But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage, Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age, But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth, And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death; For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.


by G K Chesterton | |

Who Goes Home?

 In the city set upon slime and loam 
They cry in their parliament 'Who goes home?' 
And there comes no answer in arch or dome, 
For none in the city of graves goes home.
Yet these shall perish and understand, For God has pity on this great land.
Men that are men again; who goes home? Tocsin and trumpeter! Who goes home? For there's blood on the field and blood on the foam And blood on the body when Man goes home.
And a voice valedictory .
.
.
Who is for Victory? Who is for Liberty? Who goes home?


by G K Chesterton | |

Americanisation

 Britannia needs no Boulevards,
No spaces wide and gay:
Her march was through the crooked streets
Along the narrow way.
Nor looks she where, New York's seduction, The Broadway leadeth to destruction.
Britannia needs no Cafes: If Coffee needs must be, Its place should be the Coffee-house Where Johnson growled for Tea; But who can hear that human mountain Growl for an ice-cream soda-fountain? She needs no Russian Theatrey Mere Father strangles Mother, In scenes where all the characters And colours kill each other-- Her boast is freedom had by halves, And Britons never shall be Slavs.
But if not hers the Dance of Death, Great Dostoievsky's dance, And if the things most finely French Are better done in France-- Might not Americanisation Be best applied to its own nation? Ere every shop shall be a store And every Trade a Trust .
.
.
Lo, many men in many lands Know when their cause is just.
There will be quite a large attendance When we Declare our Independence.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Song Of The Strange Ascetic

 If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have praised the purple vine,
My slaves should dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine.
But Higgins is a Heathen, And his slaves grow lean and grey, That he may drink some tepid milk Exactly twice a day.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have crowned Neaera's curls, And filled my life with love affairs, My house with dancing girls; But Higgins is a Heathen, And to lecture rooms is forced, Where his aunts, who are not married, Demand to be divorced.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have sent my armies forth, And dragged behind my chariots The Chieftains of the North.
But Higgins is a Heathen, And he drives the dreary quill, To lend the poor that funny cash That makes them poorer still.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have piled my pyre on high, And in a great red whirlwind Gone roaring to the sky; But Higgins is a Heathen, And a richer man than I: And they put him in an oven, Just as if he were a pie.
Now who that runs can read it, The riddle that I write, Of why this poor old sinner, Should sin without delight— But I, I cannot read it (Although I run and run), Of them that do not have the faith, And will not have the fun.


by G K Chesterton | |

Wine and Water

 Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale, 
He ate his egg with a ladle in a egg-cup big as a pail, 
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and fish he took was Whale, 
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail, 
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine, 
"I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.
" The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink, The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink, And Noah he cocked his eye and said, "It looks like rain, I think, The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine, But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.
" But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod, Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod, And you can't get wine at a P.
S.
A.
, or chapel, or Eisteddfod, For the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God, And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine, But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Convert

 After one moment when I bowed my head 
And the whole world turned over and came upright, 
And I came out where the old road shone white, 
I walked the ways and heard what all men said, 
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed, 
Being not unlovable but strange and light; 
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite 
But softly, as men smile about the dead.
The sages have a hundred maps to give That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree, They rattle reason out through many a sieve That stores the sand and lets the gold go free: And all these things are less than dust to me Because my name is Lazarus and I live.


by G K Chesterton | |

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.