Saturday, June 05, 2004

"The Donkey"

I have been reading Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse, which, since I've been posting a lot of poems, put me in mind of my favorite Chesterton poem:

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon 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 tattered 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.

The moral we should take from it, of course, is not to judge by appearances. It reminds me of the saying by George MacDonald: "Truth is truth, even when spoken by Balaam's ass."

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