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The Brotherhood of Silence

Saint G. K. Chesterton?

Saint G. K. Chesterton?

G. K. Chesterton has for many years been one of my favorite writers. And now I hear there is a movement to have him canonized as a saint. That would be all right with me. In the current issue of Gilbert, the publication of the American Chesterton Society (of which I am a member), there is even a jocular article entitled “Why G. K. Chesterton Ought to be Canonized,” in which eighteen reasons which some cite against his canonization are turned around by author Peter Kreeft into reasons espousing his sainthood.

At the bottom of the second and last page of his article was this slight poem, which is typical of the man:

Love’s Trappist

There is a place where lute and lyre are broken,
Where scrolls are torn and on a wild wind go,
Where tablets stand wiped naked for a token,
Where laurels wither and the daisies grow.

Lo: I too join the brotherhood of silence,
I am Love’s Trappist and you ask in vain,
For man through Love’s gate, even as through Death’s gate,
Goeth alone and comes not back again.

Yet here I pause, look back across the threshold,
Cry to my brethren, though the world be old,
Prophets and sages, questioners and doubters,
O world, old world, the best hath ne’er been told!

I will write more about Chesterton soon. When I first started reading him, only a few of his works were in print. Now, partly thanks to the Ignatius Press’s edition of his complete works (which is slowly coming out one or two volumes a year), and to a resurgence of interest in works in the public domain, virtually all of his published books are available. Because he was a prolific journalist as well as a poet, novelist, and essayist, much of his works in newspapers and more obscure magazines has not yet been collected.


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