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6th March 2015, Fri | 04:30 pm
mood: contemplativecontemplative

Ideas for the Chesterton thing. Bits from The Man Who Was Thursday.... now with more line breaks XD Potentially read to by musical-ised. (The second one is the one I started with and set last month.)


He had been blind and deaf
for a moment,
and then seen, the smoke clearing,
the broken windows and the bleeding faces.

After that he went about as usual—
quiet, courteous, rather gentle;
but there was a spot on his mind
that was not sane.



He felt a strange and vivid value in all the earth around him,
in the grass under his feet;
he felt the love of life in all living things.

He could almost fancy that he heard the grass growing;
he could almost fancy that even as he stood fresh flowers were springing up and breaking into blossom in the meadow—
flowers blood red and burning gold and blue,
fulfilling the whole pageant of the spring.

And the little tuft of almond tree against the sky-line.

He had the feeling that if by some miracle he escaped
he would be ready to sit for ever before that almond tree,
desiring nothing else in the world.


Was he wearing a mask?
Was anyone wearing a mask?
Was anyone anything?

This wood of witchery,
in which men’s faces turned black and white by turns,
in which their figures first swelled into sunlight and then faded into formless night,
this mere chaos of chiaroscuro;

This world where men took off their beards
and their spectacles
and their noses,
and turned into other people.

Was there anything that was apart from what it seemed?
Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light?

Everything only a glimpse,
the glimpse always unforeseen,
and always forgotten.


Do you see this lantern?
cried Syme in a terrible voice
Do you see the cross carved on it, and the flame inside?
You did not make it.
You did not light it,
Better men than you, men who could believe and obey,
twisted the entrails of iron and preserved the legend of fire.

There is not a street you walk on,
there is not a thread you wear,
that was not made as this lantern was,
by denying your philosophy of dirt and rats.

You can make nothing.
You can only destroy.

You will destroy mankind;
you will destroy the world.
Let that suffice you.


Walking up a road at night,
I have seen a lamp and a lighted window and a cloud
make together a most complete and unmistakable face.
If anyone in heaven has that face
I shall know him again.

Yet when I walked a little farther I found that there was no face,
that the window was ten yards away,
the lamp ten hundred yards,
the cloud beyond the world.

I do not believe that you really have a face.
I have not faith enough to believe in matter.


There was a man dressed as a windmill with enormous sails,
a man dressed as an elephant,
a man dressed as a balloon;
one dancer dressed like an enormous hornbill, with a beak twice as big as himself.

There was a dancing lamp-post,
a dancing apple tree,
a dancing ship.

Every couple dancing seemed a separate romance;
a fairy dancing with a pillar-box, or a peasant girl dancing with the moon;
as absurd as Alice in Wonderland, yet as grave and kind as a love story.


Let us remain together a little,
we who have loved each other so sadly,
and have fought so long.

I seem to remember only centuries of heroic war,
in which you were always heroes—
epic on epic,
iliad on iliad,
and you always brothers in arms.

Whether it was but recently (for time is nothing), or at the beginning of the world,
I sent you out to war.

I sat in the darkness, where there is not any created thing,
and to you I was only a voice commanding valour and an unnatural virtue.

You heard the voice in the dark, and you never heard it again.

The sun in heaven denied it,
the earth and sky denied it,
all human wisdom denied it.

And when I met you in the daylight
I denied it myself.


They were walking like old friends,
and were in the middle of a conversation
about some triviality.

But Syme could only feel an unnatural buoyancy in his body
and a crystal simplicity in his mind that seemed to be superior to everything that he said or did.

He felt he was in possession
of some impossible good news,
which made every other thing a triviality, but an adorable triviality.

Dawn was breaking over everything in colours at once clear and timid;
as if Nature made a first attempt at yellow and a first attempt at rose.

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