Poetry: Gilbert Keith Chesterton - The Song of Education (III. For the Creche) - A Ballad Of Suicide - The Shakespeare Memorial - The Last Hero - Links

Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 20:03



The Song of Education

III. For the Creche


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."

 

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




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.

 

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!

 


Poetry: Gilbert Keith Chesterton - The Song of Education (III. For the Creche) - A Ballad Of Suicide - The Shakespeare Memorial - The Last Hero - Links











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