Today is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, so it’s the perfect day to read Chesterton’s poem On the Dangers Attending Altruism on the High Seas. If that whets your appetite for silly poetry and even sillier illustration, then you should procede to this piece, which also comes from Chesterton’s first book, Greybeards at Play.
The Oneness of the Philosopher with Nature
I love to see the little Stars
all dancing to one tune
I think quite highly of the Sun,
and kindly of the Moon.
The million forests of the Earth
come trooping in to tea.
The great Niagara waterfall
is never shy with me.
I am the Tiger’s confidant,
and never mention names:
the Lion drops the formal “Sir,”
and lets me call him James.
Into my ear the blushing Whale
stammers his love. I know
why the Rhinoceros is sad,
— ah, child! ’twas long ago.
I am akin to all the Earth
by many a tribal sign:
the aged Pig will often wear
that sad, sweet smile of mine.
My niece, the Barnacle, has got
my piercing eyes of black;
the Elephant has got my nose,
I do not want it back.
I know the strange tale of the Slug;
the Early Sin — the Fall —
the Sleep — the Vision — and the Vow —
the Quest — the Crown — the Call.
And I have loved the Octopus,
since we were boys together.
I love the Vulture and the Shark:
I even love the weather.
I love to bask in sunny fields,
and when that hope is vain,
I go and bask in Baker Street,
all in the pouring rain.
Come snow! where fly, by some strange law,
hard snowballs — without noise —
through streets untenanted, except
by good unconscious boys.
Come fog! Exultant mystery —
where, in strange darkness rolled,
the end of my own nose becomes
a lovely legend old.
Come snow, and hail, and thunderbolts,
sleet, fire, and general fuss;
come to my arms, come all at once —
oh photograph me thus!