When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
And monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
And 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.
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
Palm crosses used to be blessed as a protection against the devil, but are now distributed to worshipers as symbols of the victory of Christ: 'It is finished!'
Andi Brough told me that this is her favourite poem. She feels 'the donkey swelling with pride' as s/he remembers the day when the one who could have ridden a handsome war-horse into Jerusalem chose to ride on a ridiculous 'beast of burden'. It was Jesus Christ our Lord. The poet was a Christian apologist who said, 'The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found too difficult and not tried!' Baptised as an Anglican, Chesterton became a Roman Catholic in 1922 at the age of 48, believing it 'is the only thing that saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.'