TALE OF TWO POEMS
The Donkey Poem
I was nothing but despised,
Born a creature low.
Born to bear men’s burdens
And bend my back so low.
Could I ever be of use to Man,
Much exhalted more than I---
Could such a lowly life as mine
Ever touch a thing so high?
Then one day I felt a pull
A stranger led me to the street.
I heard the shouts of many men
And I saw palms before my feet.
(c) 2005 2011 "Christina Walden Ehn"
I read Chesterton’s poem in High School. I remembered only the last line.
The last line was haunting and beautiful, and hearing it all alone was seriously frustrating
for many years. So I decided to re-write the poem. I often wondered how my poem
compared with the original, whoever wrote it, whatever it said.
Today I found it. I like my version better.
Here is Chesterton's Original Poem
I was surprised that it was a famous poem by a famous poet.
All I remembered was the last line, and I built on that.
Which poem do you like best?
The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton
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 tatter'd 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.