by G. K. Chesterton

The little picture of the Mother of God
Hangs crooked upon the wall,
Blue and bright gold like a butterfly pinned askew
Only it does not fall,
As, stooping ever and falling never, an eagle
Hangs winged over all.

And it suddenly seemed that the whole long room was tilted
Like a cabin in stormy seas;
The solid table and strong upstanding lamp and the inkstand
Leaned like stiff shrubs in a breeze
And the windows looked out upon slanted plains and meadows
As on slanted seas.

And I knew in a flash that the whole wide world was sliding;
Ice and not land.
And men were swaying and sliding, and nations staggered
And could not stand:
Going down to the ends of the earth, going down to destruction,
On either hand.

And knowing the whole world stiff with the crack of doom,
I pick up my pen and correct and make notes, and write small:
And go on with the task of the day, seeing unseeing
What hangs over all:
The awful eyes of Our Lady, who hangs so straight
Upon the crooked wall.

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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2013