THE POETRY OF FAITH: Once Upon a Time, Belief Was Normative

Doesn’t it sometimes seem that you were meant to live in a different age?  That the world has turned and somehow, you didn’t get the memo?

I ran across an article on “The Poetry of Faith” which appeared in Time Magazine.  Published on July 1, 1946, it offered a thumbs-up review of a new anthology of Catholic poetry by the British poet Alfred Noyes.  “The greatest writing in human history,” said Time, “is religious writing.”  Oh, how I ache for my beloved Church to be once again held in such high esteem–and for the values of faith and virtue to be paramount in literature and in our hearts!

The article closed with a sample of such excellence–“The Convert” by G.K. Chesterton.

*     *     *     *     *

 

THE CONVERT

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,

Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed.
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

 The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree.
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

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