Chesterton’s poem “The Donkey” and … donkeys

First, I had a note from a reader/watcher who picked up on my donkey comments in my commentary at 1 Peter 5.

She wrote, riffing on my remarks, …

I laughed when I read your article on 1P5 because we have a donkey colt and an older donkey.

The donkey colt, Daisy, is very sweet and generally obedient, docile, and patient!

But the older donkey, Tulipa is 4 years old, can be very willful, moody, and downright stubborn!

I love the analogy and I can relate to it very well!

Here is Tulipa on the left and Daisy on the right. Lovely animals!

And now this…

The Donkey

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 tattered 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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    I never read that before. How excellent!

  2. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr Z.
    If you look you will see that Daisy has a cross on her back. Tulipa also has a cross on her back. Tradition tells us that Christ left this mark on all donkeys as a sign of their holy place in Gods creation.
    I always have been told this since I was a little boy as we had donkeys then too. They are very intelligent animals.

  3. TonyO says:

    So, the story of Rabadash the Ridiculous is actually a slur against donkeys, hmm?

  4. Pumpkin Eater says:

    Looks like there’s a recent injury or sore on top of the hind of the donkey pictured on the right.

  5. Sandy says:

    Anyone who enjoys these animals should try to visit “Mule Days” in Bishop, CA. It is loads of fun, with exhibits and shows, all sorts of donkeys, mules, and horses. You can pet all the donkeys you want and they are usually so sweet. I did hear the story about the cross on their backs and you can see it.

  6. LoriAnnD says:

    In answer to @PumpkinEater that is spray paint put on her by the farm we bought her from indicating that she was one of the ones to be sold

  7. Jim Dorchak says:

    @pumpkin Eater
    No that is paint on the rear end of Daisy.
    This photo was taken right after we purchased her. The donkey farm we purchased her from has 300 donkeys that they keep for milking. Yes MILKING. Turns out donkey milk is very good for you and they sell it here in Chile.
    So back to the red paint, they marked her for sale when we made our order to purchase, then we were able to go up and select a donkey we liked from a herd of about 10 different female donkeys. We did not want a male as they are aggressive to baby sheep and will kill a new lamb. They use RED paint because …. well that is the color that stands out and what they had on hand.
    Rest assured that both Daisy and Tulipa both have happy lives here on our homestead and are well fed and cared for including having their feet trimmed and Equine vet visits on a regular basis. They are both mascots or pets for the most part but we are in the process of teaching them to pull logs out of our woods for fire wood, which they actually enjoy doing.
    One day I plan on welding up a nice donkey cart so that we can use to go to town since gasoline is so expensive. Funny part is that there are other people here already doing this. Life is slower here in Chile. We like it that way and it would be my guess …. so do our donkeys Daisy and Tulipa.

  8. monstrance says:

    Donkeys are also great for warding off coyotes.

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