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The Convert

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After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

Source: The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton (1927)
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The Convert

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  • 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 everything and he said it better than anyone else," declared Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chester Society, on the society's Web site. Most of Chesterton's literary output was nonfiction, including thousands of columns for various periodicals, but today he is best remembered for his fictional work--a mystery series about Father Brown, a Catholic priest and amateur detective.

    Chesterton began his literary career as a manuscript reader for a London publishing house, but he soon moved into writing art criticism....

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