“The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.”

Via the Laudator:

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), January:

It freezes—all across a soundless sky
The birds go home. The governing dark’s begun:
The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun;
The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.

Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
Leers in at human windows, turning spy
To learn the country where his rule shall lie
When he assumes perpetual generalship.

The undefeated enemy, the chill
That shall benumb the voiceful earth at last,
Is master of our moment, and has bound
The viewless wind itself. There is no sound.
It freezes. Every friendly stream is fast.
It freezes; and the graven twigs are still.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. No 20th century poet is more poignant than Belloc. Including Chesterton.

  2. Girgadis says:

    “Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
    Leers in at human windows, turning spy
    To learn the country where his rule shall lie
    When he assumes perpetual generalship.”

    I love that image, though I hope never to meet up with it.

  3. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Goes nicely with Larkin’s “Aubade,” like a nice wine pairing:

    I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
    Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
    In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
    Till then I see what’s really always there:
    Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
    Making all thought impossible but how
    And where and when I shall myself die.
    Arid interrogation: yet the dread
    Of dying, and being dead,
    Flashes afresh to hold and horrify….


  4. Jon says:

    Wow! Must be cold up there!

  5. Maltese says:

    Belloc is unreal, as is Chesterton; or “Chestebelloc” as they were known!

    The best and brightest English writers of their time (until Leonard Feeney)

    What is not widely known is that Hillaire Belloc could be very funny in his wit!

    Bad Child’s Book of Beasts

  6. shadowlands says:

    Father! When I read the title of this post, I thought that you were going to confirm your belief in the ‘prophecy’ of the ‘three days of darkness’ that my mom’s friend’s used to terrify me with, whilst drinking tea and talking about it, in the eighties. They said that without a special candle, no light would be possible and if you looked out of the window, youd be a gonna ( kaput, dead, as a doornail ) !!

    Still, as the Pope reminded us a few days ago, whilst summarizing St. Catherine of Bologna’s Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons — “Remember that everyone must die”.

    Cor blimey! I’ve unsettled me-self now, I better go and say my rosary.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    The Winter’s Spring by John Clare
    The winter comes; I walk alone,
    I want no bird to sing;
    To those who keep their hearts their own
    The winter is the spring.
    No flowers to please—no bees to hum—
    The coming spring’s already come.

    I never want the Christmas rose
    To come before its time;
    The seasons, each as God bestows,
    Are simple and sublime.
    I love to see the snowstorm hing;
    ‘Tis but the winter garb of spring.

    I never want the grass to bloom:
    The snowstorm’s best in white.
    I love to see the tempest come
    And love its piercing light.
    The dazzled eyes that love to cling
    O’er snow-white meadows sees the spring.

    I love the snow, the crumpling snow
    That hangs on everything,
    It covers everything below
    Like white dove’s brooding wing,
    A landscape to the aching sight,
    A vast expanse of dazzling light.

    It is the foliage of the woods
    That winters bring—the dress,
    White Easter of the year in bud,
    That makes the winter Spring.
    The frost and snow his posies bring,
    Nature’s white spurts of the spring.

    perhaps more positive…

  8. Eric says:

    Might I suggest you follow that up with the “Good News” thread?

    Geez, I haven’t been this depressed since I went to the Dollar store and they had the country music station playing.

    Speaking of the end of races. I can’t figure out why, near the end of The Lion , Witch, and Wardrobe , right before Aslan kills Jadis, she doesn’t use the “Deplorable Word.”

  9. wanda says:

    I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.
    A magical thing and sweet to remember.

    We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.
    I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.

    Oliver Hereford

  10. susanna says:

    Thank you all for the poetry, maugre the fact that some is depressing.
    Yes, a good news thread would be good!

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