"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Where All Men are at Home

A Christmas poem from one of The Reform Club's patron saints:

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

G.K. Chesterton, The House of Christmas

Many thanks to my good friend Brenda B. of Crazy Stable for bringing this lovely poem back to mind. May of all of us who are homeless -- that is, all of us here -- put our peace in the possible impossible things and find home in the coming year.

2 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Kathy, please pass on to Brenda that I love her blog, and Happy Christmas. She has a flawless eye for what is significant, like Chesterton poems and hedgehogs, and this, words we poor bloggers, who write only in cyberink, should nonetheless aspire to live by:

THIS IS
A PRINTING OFFICE


CROSSROADS OF CIVILISATION
REFUGE OF ALL THE ARTS
AGAINST THE RAVAGES OF TIME
ARMOURY OF FEARLESS TRUTH
AGAINST WHISPERING RUMOUR
INCESSANT TRUMPET OF TRADE


FROM THIS PLACE WORDS MAY FLY ABROAD
NOT TO PERISH ON WAVES OF SOUND
NOT TO VARY WITH THE WRITER'S HAND
BUT FIXED IN TIME HAVING BEEN VERIFIED IN PROOF
FRIEND YOU STAND ON SACRED GROUND
THIS IS A PRINTING OFFICE

Kathy Hutchins said...

Brenda is, in addition to all you say, screamingly funny. You must not miss her paean to her resident demon squirrels, Smeagol and Bagel, who are surely related within two or three degrees to the infamous Foamy [Warning! Warning! Parental content advisory!].