Monday, March 29, 2010

`A Graphic and Passionate Clearness'

She’s small and looks delicate but for her size and age she’s strong and spirited. She shoveled in the pasta and chopped-up grapes I put on the tray of her high-chair. Her locomotion is a peculiar crab-like scuttle, tucking her left leg underneath and rowing it like an oar. She pushes the dog, four or five times her size, out of the way, and the dog never objects. As we tried to watch The Black Stallion she climbed on the couch, lifted my wife’s shirt and proceeded to play pat-a-cake on her belly. She laughs when I imitate the sound of an adenoidal pig. Soon we will celebrate my niece’s first birthday.

G.K. Chesterton and his wonderfully named wife, Frances Blogg, never had children. On March 7, 1931, in the Illustrated London News, Chesterton wrote:

“A literary man who cannot see that a baby is marvellous could not see that anything was marvellous.”

An ideal companion: A “literary man” in no way childish who enjoys the company of children and whose company children enjoy. Chesterton wrote in the Illustrated London News on May 30, 1908:

“Children have more life than we have; the only thing they lack is law. Children feel the whiteness of the lily with a graphic and passionate clearness which we cannot give them at all. The only thing we can give them is information – the information that if you break the lily in two it won’t grow again. We need not teach them the good of admiring the lily; the only thing we can teach them is the evil of uprooting it.”

[Passages found in More Quotable Chesterton, Ignatius Press, 1988.]

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