Clear was the night: the moon was young:
The larkspurs in the plots
Mingled their orange with the gold
Of the forget-me-nots.
The poppies seemed a silver mist:
So darkly fell the gloom.
You scarce had guessed yon crimson streaks
Were buttercups in bloom.
But one thing moved: a little child
Crashed through the flower and fern:
And all my soul rose up to greet
The sage of whom I learn.
I looked into his awful eyes:
I waited his decree:
I made ingenious attempts
To sit upon his knee.
The babe upraised his wondering eyes,
And timidly he said,
“A trend towards experiment
In modern minds is bred.
“I feel the will to roam, to learn
By test, experience, nous,
That fire is hot and ocean deep,
And wolves carnivorous.
“My brain demands complexity.”
The lisping cherub cried.
I looked at him, and only said,
“Go on. The world is wide.”
A tear rolled down his pinafore
“Yet from my life must pass
The simple love of sun and moon,
The old games in the grass;
“Now that my back is to my home
Could these again be found?”
I looked on him, and only said,
“Go on. The world is round.”
– G. K. Chesterton, Greybeards at Play