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A Second Childhood

Easter 2: 19th April, 2015
Fr Graeme Brennan, Assistant Priest at St Peter's, Eastern Hill

In his homily on Sunday 19th April, Fr Graeme read the poem A Second Childhood from The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton. In response to a number of requests for access to this poem, it is reproduced here.

It can also be found at: The Literature Network and in goodreads.

A Second Childhood

When all my days are ending
and I have no song to sing,
I think that I shall not be too old
to stare at everything;
as I stared once at a nursery door
or a tall tree and a swing.

Wherein God's ponderous mercy hangs
on all my sins and me,
because he does not take away
the terror from the tree
and stones still shine along the road
that are and cannot be.

Men grow too old for love, my love,
men grow too old for wine,
but I shall not grow too old to see
unearthly daylight shine,
changing my chamber's dust to snow
till I doubt if it be mine.

Behold, the crowning mercies melt,
the first surprises stay;
and in my dross is dropped a gift
for which I dare not pray:
that a man grow used to grief and joy
but not to night and day.

Men grow too old for love, my love,
men grow too old for lies;
but I shall not grow too old to see
enormous night arise,
a cloud that is larger than the world
and a monster made of eyes.

Nor am I worthy to unloose
the latchet of my shoe;
or shake the dust from off my feet
or the staff that bears me through
on ground that is too good to last,
too solid to be true.

Men grow too old to woo, my love,
men grow too old to wed;
but I shall not grow too old to see
hung crazily overhead
incredible rafters when I wake
and I find that I am not dead.

A thrill of thunder in my hair:
though blackening clouds be plain,
still I am stung and startled
by the first drop of the rain:
romance and pride and passion pass
and these are what remain.

Strange crawling carpets of the grass,
wide windows of the sky;
so in this perilous grace of God
with all my sins go I:
and things grow new though I grow old,
though I grow old and die.


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