Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something from Chesterton

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walk'd
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the world was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four footed things.

The tatter'd outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, 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 about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

-G.K. Chesterton-


Jeff Moss said...


And once also a she-donkey was commissioned to rebuke a prophet of YHWH, and she performed her task wisely and well.

Thomas Banks said...

It is comforting to know that they have something on their resume other than being the mascot for a certain political party.

Jeff Moss said...

For that matter, if I was an elephant these days, I might go around trying to make people think I was a mastodon or something else instead.

Jeff Moss said...

Do you have any idea what "when the world was blood" refers to? For me, the only thing that's coming to mind is Al-`Alaq 96:1-5 --

Proclaim! in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood:
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
Taught man that which he knew not.

which according to Muhammad were the first verses of the Qur'an to be revealed to him.

P.S. Did you get to hear the Chesterton impersonator who was in town a week ago?

Thomas Banks said...

That's probably as good as any guess of mine; I know some early Indo European mythologies identify primordial "Chaos" with blood, but I didn't know Islam did as well.

There's such a thing as a professional Chesterton impersonator? Wonder if there's a market for that in the Vegas casinos. . .

When I was about 8 my dad took me to see a Shakespeare impersonator who was a lot of fun. How was this chap?

Jeff Moss said...

He was good. He started off reciting a couple of choice Chesterton poems (not "The Donkey" but of similar quality and wit) and then talked freely about (more or less) Life, the Universe, and Everything. He had written notes for a "lecture" on Darwinism that formed part of the act, but otherwise everything was without notes and all over the stage.

The same guy does Chesterton, T. Roosevelt, Mencken, and Branch Rickey impersonations. Check out this page for some idea of it.