Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Non-Entries for the Clerihew Contest


THE 42ND ANNUAL CHESTERTON CONFERENCE: Chesterton and Saint Francis gets underway tomorrow in Minneapolis. 

I'm not attending. 

It's not a slight against the conference or anyone involved, but I tend not to attend conferences that require travel any distance or staying overnight. 

I hope it's a successful conference. 

Unfortunately, my not going means that I can't take part in the annual Clerihew Contest.

If I were there, here are some of the entries I might consider submitting:

--- Before Chesterton

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
sat in her parlor frowning.
Robert had bought her something labeled "Serra da Estrela cheese,"
that clearly wasn't Portuguese.

The replacement Apostle Matthias
was chosen by lot, not by bias.
Alas, except for his selection.
he's eluded all other historical detection.

Inspector Javert
felt an insatiable desire for a chocolate eclair.
But since the bakeries would not open until well after dawn
he obsessed instead about Jean Valjean.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
was plagued by vices that proved pesky .
To pay his bills he took a successful gamble
creating characters who were prone to verbally ramble.

We can probably assume Saint Blaise
is in Heaven these days.
Martyrdom likely led him to eternal glory
and not just some fish story.

--- During Chesterton

Hilaire Belloc
walked off the end of a dock,
but being in the middle of a debate,
he failed to recognize his fate.

Lord Peter Wimsey
was never deterred by evidence flimsy,
but his confidence suffered years of strain
when faced with the mystery of Harriet Vane.

When reading Robert Frost
I often find myself getting lost
in thoughts of walls and trees and snow and roads,
but never once of toads.

--- After Chesterton

Alfred Hitchcock
developed a bad case of writer's block
despite his use of a bran muffin
as the MacGuffin.

As an actor, Tom Baker
was more of a character than a heart-breaker.
But I think his Doctor is worthy of a clerihew,
even though at mention of his name some folks just say, “Who?"

In the kitchen, Julia Child
was amusing but never wild.
To fill that void
we had to rely on Dan Aykroyd.

Megan Rapinoe
picked up a banjo.
As she played a tune on it,
she sang, "That #$@&*! is full of %@!#*"

The Brits now have their third Chuck,
and so I wish them lots of luck.
He finally achieved one of his two main goals,
the other, of course, being Mrs. Parker Bowles.

Dale Ahlquist
peered into the fog and mist.
He is certain that somewhere out there
is an undiscovered Chesterton text awaiting his care.

Who know if any of them might have won recognition. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Joseph Pearce of Faith & Fantasy


Joseph Pearce continues to offer looks at Chesterton, Lewis, and others.

In The Imaginative Conservative he published an article called "Faith & Fantasy: Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling & Other Tellers of Tall Tales"

It begins:

Tall tales are still being told. The light still shines. The torch is still being handed from generation to generation. Thanks be to God, the giver of the light, and thanks be to Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis, and all other legend-makers and torchbearers of tradition.

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme
of things not found within recorded time.

                 —J.R. R. Tolkien (From “Mythopoeia”)

This is a festive year for all admirers of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This September will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Tolkien’s sailing into the Mystic West, while this November marks the sixtieth anniversary of Lewis’s passing through the stable door and going further up and further in. It would seem appropriate to celebrate these joyous landmarks with an acknowledgment of the legacy of Tolkien and Lewis and of those who influenced them and were influenced by them.

Let’s begin with the connection between “faith and fantasy” which is inseparable from “faith and reason”, as was made evident by Tolkien in his seminal essay “On Fairy-Stories”:

Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make. If men were ever in a state in which they did not want to know or could not perceive truth (facts or evidence), then Fantasy would languish until they were cured. If they ever get into that state (it would not seem at all impossible), Fantasy will perish, and become Morbid Delusion.

Check out the rest!


Saturday, July 01, 2023

From OSV: The Long Journey of Lewis


Our Sunday Visitor has an article by Russell Shaw about the conversion of C. S. Lewis, "C.S. Lewis and his long journey toward Christianity"

Mapping the spiritual journey of C.S. Lewis doesn’t mean finding that one, special turning point at which he declared himself a believer — that’s clear enough — but tracing the long series of events that led up to it. Fortunately, like St. Augustine writing his Confessions centuries earlier, Lewis himself provides a detailed itinerary of the steps that finally brought him to the point of saying, “I believe.”

Lewis is remembered today as a writer and Christian apologist — arguably the finest of the 20th century. He was not only a prolific writer but remarkably diverse, with an output that included children’s books, scholarly volumes, science fiction, works on Christian doctrine and a moving, intensely personal account of his grief-ridden quarrel with God after his wife’s death.

His books have been adapted for stage, screen and television, and he has been the subject of several biographies. While there is no telling how many people he has reached, the number clearly is in the millions. But his emergence as a Christian writer was long in coming. In “Surprised By Joy,” the autobiographical story of his conversion, he provides a careful, candid explanation of how he “passed from atheism to Christianity.” ...

Check it out.