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The Donkey

G K Chesterton




When I was in the first year of high school, one of the form (grade) prizes was a book of poetry (from the 'Everyman' Library I recall). I still have the book. This poem has stuck with me through the years. The message is that everyone, no matter how humble or far outside the norm, is worthy and has a part to play in the world.  It is superbly expressed here.

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood,
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The 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.