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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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Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
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
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Song of Education

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Skeleton

 Chattering finch and water-fly 
Are not merrier than I; 
Here among the flowers I lie 
Laughing everlastingly.
No; I may not tell the best; Surely, friends, I might have guessed Death was but the good King's jest, It was hid so carefully.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem


 White founts falling in the Courts of the sun, 
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run; 
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared, 
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard; 
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips; 
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy, They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea, And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss, And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass; The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass; From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun, And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard, Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred, Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall, The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall, The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung, That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid, Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far, Don John of Austria is going to the war, Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold, Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums, Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled, Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world, Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah! Death-light of Africa! Don John of Austria Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star, (Don John of Austria is going to the war.
) He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees, His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease, And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees; And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii, Multiplex of wing and eye, Whose strong obedience broke the sky When Solomon was king.
They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn, From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn; They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be, On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl, Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl; They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,-- They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide, And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide, And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest, For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun, Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago: It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate; It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate! It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth, Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.
" For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar, (Don John of Austria is going to the war.
) Sudden and still--hurrah! Bolt from Iberia! Don John of Austria Is gone by Alcalar.
Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north (Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.
) Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone; The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone; The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes, And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise, And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room, And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom, And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,-- But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips, Trumpet that sayeth ha! Domino gloria! Don John of Austria Is shouting to the ships.
King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck (Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.
) The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin, And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon, He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon, And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day, And death is in the phial and the end of noble work, But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed-- Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha! Gun upon gun, hurrah! Don John of Austria Has loosed the cannonade.
The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke, (Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.
) The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year, The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery; They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark, They veil the plum?d lions on the galleys of St.
Mark; And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs, And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs, Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell, And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign-- (But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!) Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop, Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop, Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds, Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds, Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania! Domino Gloria! Don John of Austria Has set his people free! Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath (Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.
) And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain, Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain, And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade.
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Last Hero

 The wind blew out from Bergen, from the dawning to the day
There was a wreck of trees, a fall of towers, a score of miles away
And drifted like a livid leaf I go before the tide
Spewed out of house and stable, beggared of flag and bride
The heavens are bowed about my head, raging like seraph wars
With rains that might put out the sun, and rid the sky of stars
Rains like the fall of ruined seas from secret worlds above
The roaring of the rains of God, none but the lonely love
Feast in my halls, O Foemen! O eat and drink and drain!
You never loved the sun in heaven, as I have loved the rain!

The tide of battle changes, so may all battle be
I stole my lady bride from them; they stole her back from me
As I wrenched her from her red roofed halls, I rose and saw arise
More lovely than the living flowers, the hatred in her eyes
She never loved me, never wept, never was less divine
And sunset never knew us, her world was never mine
Was it all for nothing that she stood, imperial in duresse
Silence itself made softer with the sweeping of her dress
O you who drain the cup of life! O You who wear the crown!
You never loved a woman's smile as I have loved her frown!

The wind blew out from Bergen to the dawning of the day
They ride and race with fifty spears to break and bar my way
I shall not die alone, alone, but kin to all the powers
As merry as the ancient sun, and fighting like the flowers!
How white their steel! How bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave
Yea, I will bless them as they bend, and love them where they lie
When upon their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky
That hour when death is like a light, and blood is as a rose -
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I will love my foes!

Know you what you shall lose this night, what rich uncounted loans
What heavy gold of tales untold you bury with my bones
My loves in deep dim meadows, my ships that rode at ease
Ruffling the purple plumage of strange and secret seas
To see this fair earth as it stands, to me alone was given
The blow that breaks my brow tonight shall break the dome of heaven
The skies I saw, the trees I saw, after, no eye shall see
Tonight I die the death of God - the stars shall die with me!
One sound shall sunder all the spears, and break the trumpet's breath -
You never laughed in all your life, as I shall laugh in death!
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Higher Unity

 The Rev.
Isaiah Bunter has disappeared into the interior of the Solomon Islands, and it is feared that he may have been devoured by the natives, as there has been a considerable revival of religious customs among the Polynesians.
--A real paragraph from a real Paper; only the names altered.
It was Isaiah Bunter Who sailed to the world's end, And spread religion in a way That he did not intend.
He gave, if not the gospel-feast, At least a ritual meal; And in a highly painful sense He was devoured with zeal.
And who are we (as Henson says) That we should close the door? And should not Evangelicals All jump at shedding Gore? And many a man will melt in man, Becoming one, not two, When smacks across the startled earth The Kiss of Kikuyu.
When Man is the Turk, and the Atheist, Essene, Erastian, Whig, And the Thug and the Druse and the Catholic And the crew of the Captain's gig.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Towers of Time

 Under what withering leprous light
The very grass as hair is grey,
Grass in the cracks of the paven courts
Of gods we graved but yesterday.
Senate, republic, empire, all We leaned our backs on like a wall And blessed as stron as strong and blamed as stolid-- Can it be these that waver and fall? And what is this like a ghost returning, A dream grown strong in the strong daylight? The all-forsaken, the unforgotten, The ever-behind and out of sight.
We turned our backs and our blind flesh felt it Growing and growing, a tower in height.
Ah, not alone the evil splendour And not the insolent arms alone Break with the ramrod, stiff and brittle, The sceptre of the nordic throne; But things of manlier renown Reel in the wreck of throne and crown, With tyrannous tyranny, tyrannous loyalty Tyrannous liberty, all gone down.
(There is never a crack in the ivory tower Or a hinge to groan in the house of gold Or a leaf of the rose in the wind to wither And she grows young as the world grows old.
A Woman clothed with the sun returning to clothe the sun when the sun is cold.
) Ah, who had guessed that in a moment Great Liberty that loosed the tribes, the Republic of the young men's battles Grew stale and stank of old men's bribes; And where we watched her smile in power A statue like a starry tower the stone face sneers as in a nightmare Down on a world that worms devour.
(Archaic incredible dead dawns breaking Deep in the deserts and waste and wealds, Where the dead cry aloud on Our Lady of Victories, Queen of the Eagles, aloft on the shields, And the sun is gone up on the Thundering Legion On the roads of Rome to the Battlefields.
) Ah, who had known who had not seen How soft and sudden on the fame Of my most noble English ships The sunset light of Carthage came And the thing I never had dreamed could be In the house of my fathers came to me Through the sea-wall cloven, the cloud and dark, A voice divided, a doubtful sea.
(The light is bright on the Tower of David, The evening glows with the morning star In the skies turned back and the days returning She walks so near who had wandered far And in the heart of the swords, the seven times wounded, Was never wearied as our hearts are.
) How swift as with a fall of snow New things grow hoary with the light.
We watch the wrinkles crawl like snakes On the new image in our sight.
The lines that sprang up taut and bold Sag like primordial monsters old, Sink in the bas-reliers of fossil And the slow earth swallows them, fold on fold, But light are the feet on the hills of the morning Of the lambs that leap up to the Bride of the Sun, And swift are the birds as the butterflies flashing And sudden as laughter the rivulets run And sudden for ever as summer lightning the light is bright on the world begun.
Thou wilt not break as we have broken The towers we reared to rival Thee.
More true to England than the English More just to freedom than the free.
O trumpet of the intolerant truth Thou art more full of grace and ruth For the hopes of th world than the world that made them, The world that murdered the loves of our youth.
Thou art more kind to our dreams, Our Mother, Than the wise that wove us the dreams for shade.
God if more good to the gods that mocked Him Than men are good to the gods they made.
Tenderer with toys than a boy grown brutal, Breaking the puppets with which he played.
What are the flowers the garden guards not And how but here should dreams return? And how on hearths made cold with ruin the wide wind-scattered ashes burn-- What is the home of the heart set free, And where is the nesting of liberty, And where from the world shall the world take shelter And man be matter, and not with Thee? Wisdom is set in her throne of thunder, The Mirror of Justice blinds the day-- Where are the towers that are not of the City, Trophies and trumpetings, where are they? Where over the maze of the world returning The bye-ways bend to the King's highway.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Logical Vegetarian

 "Why shouldn't I have a purely vegetarian drink? Why shouldn't I take vegetables in their highest form, so to speak? The modest vegetarians ought to stick to wine or beer, plain vegetable drinks, instead of filling their goblets with the blood of bulls and elephants, as all conventional meat-eaters do, I suppose"--Dalroy.
You will find me drinking rum, Like a sailor in a slum, You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian You will find me drinking gin In the lowest kind of inn Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.
So I cleared the inn of wine, And I tried to climb the sign, And I tried to hail the constable as "Marion.
" But he said I couldn't speak, And he bowled me to the Beak Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.
Oh, I know a Doctor Gluck, And his nose it had a hook, And his attitudes were anything but Aryan; So I gave him all the pork That I had, upon a fork Because I am myself a Vegetarian.
I am silent in the Club, I am silent in the pub.
, I am silent on a bally peak in Darien; For I stuff away for life Shoving peas in with a knife, Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.
No more the milk of cows Shall pollute my private house Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian I will stick to port and sherry, For they are so very, very, So very, very, very, Vegetarian.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Black Virgin

 One in thy thousand statues we salute thee 
On all thy thousand thrones acclaim and claim 
Who walk in forest of thy forms and faces 
Walk in a forest calling on one name 
And, most of all, how this thing may be so 
Who know thee not are mystified to know
That one cries "Here she stands" and one cries "Yonder" 
And thou wert home in heaven long ago.
Burn deep in Bethlehem in the golden shadows, Ride above Rome upon the horns of stone, From low Lancastrian or South Saxon shelters Watch through dark years the dower that was shine own: Ghost of our land, White Lady of Walsinghame, Shall they not live that call upon thy name If an old song on a wild wind be blowing Crying of the holy country whence they came? Root deep in Chartres the roses blown of glass Burning above thee in the high vitrailles, On Cornish crags take for salute of swords O'er peacock seas the far salute of sails, Glooming in bronze or gay in painted wood, A great doll given when the child is good, Save that She gave the Child who gave the doll, In whom all dolls are dreams of motherhood.
I have found thee like a little shepherdess Gay with green ribbons; and passed on to find Michael called Angel hew the Mother of God Like one who fills a mountain with a mind: Molten in silver or gold or garbed in blue, Or garbed in red where the inner robe burns through, Of the King's daughter glorious within: Change shine unchanging light with every hue.
Clothed with the sun or standing on the moon Crowned with the stars or single, a morning star, Sunlight and moonlight are thy luminous shadows, Starlight and twilight thy refractions are, Lights and half-lights and all lights turn about thee, But though we dazed can neither see nor doubt thee, Something remains.
Nor can man live without it Nor can man find it bearable without thee.
There runs a dark thread through the tapestries That time has woven with all the tints of time Something not evil but grotesque and groping, Something not clear; not final; not sublime; Quaint as dim pattern of primal plant or tree Or fish, the legless elfins of the sea, Yet rare as this shine image in ebony Being most strange in its simplicity.
Rare as the rushing of the wild black swans The Romans saw; or rocks remote and grim Where through black clouds the black sheep runs accursed And through black clouds the Shepherd follows him.
By the black oak of the aeon-buried grove By the black gems of the miner's treasure-trove Monsters and freaks and fallen stars and sunken- Most holy dark, cover our uncouth love.
From shine high rock look down on Africa The living darkness of devouring green The loathsome smell of life unquenchable, Look on low brows and blinking eyes between, On the dark heart where white folk find no place, On the dark bodies of an antic race, On all that fear thy light and love thy shadow, Turn thou the mercy of thy midnight face.
This also is in thy spectrum; this dark ray; Beyond the deepening purples of thy Lent Darker than violet vestment; dark and secret Clot of old night yet cloud of heaven sent: As the black moon of some divine eclipse, As the black sun of the Apocalypse, As the black flower that blessed Odysseus back From witchcraft; and he saw again the ships.
In all thy thousand images we salute thee, Claim and acclaim on all thy thousand thrones Hewn out of multi-colored rocks and risen Stained with the stored-up sunsets in all tones- If in all tones and shades this shade I feel, Come from the black cathedrals of Castille Climbing these flat black stones of Catalonia, To thy most merciful face of night I kneel.