For a War Memorial

By G. K. Chesterton 1874–1936

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The hucksters haggle in the mart
The cars and carts go by;
Senates and schools go droning on;
For dead things cannot die.

A storm stooped on the place of tombs
With bolts to blast and rive;
But these be names of many men
The lightning found alive.

If usurers rule and rights decay
And visions view once more
Great Carthage like a golden shell
Gape hollow on the shore,

Still to the last of crumbling time
Upon this stone be read
How many men of England died
To prove they were not dead.

Source: The Ballad of St. Barbara (1922)

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Poet G. K. Chesterton 1874–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects War & Conflict, Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Death

Holidays Memorial Day

Poetic Terms Common Measure

 G. K. Chesterton

Biography

G. K. Chesterton was one of the dominating figures of the London literary scene in the early twentieth century. Not only did he get into lively discussions with anyone who would debate him, including his friend, frequent verbal sparring partner, and noted Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, but he wrote about seemingly every topic, in every genre, from journalism to plays, poetry to crime novels. "He said something about . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Common Measure

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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