Sunday, September 25, 2005

Joseph

by G.K. Chesterton

If the stars fell; night's nameless dreams
Of bliss and blasphemy came true,
If skies were green and snow were gold,
And you loved me as I love you;

O long light hands and curled brown hair,
And eyes where sits a naked soul;
Dare I even then draw near and burn
My fingers in the aureole?

Yes, in the one wise foolish hour
God gives this strange strength to a man.
He can demand, though not deserve,
Where ask he cannot, seize he can.

But once the blood's wedding o'er,
Were not dread his, half dark desire,
To see the Christ-child by the cot,
The Virgin Mary by the fire?

* * *

This poem came into my mind during a discussion whether a man can ever be good enough for a lady. The men I know all said No. He can never be worthy. He can only hope that she puts up with him anyway.

I once asked my father if it was important to marry someone equal in virtue. He said, "If that were true, your mom could never have married me." Then he added, "And no woman could find a man good enough."

From my point of view, I don't entirely see it: men don't have the same virtues as we do, but they definitely have virtues. On the other hand, it is enobling for men to treat the woman as so highly superior.

Chesterton gives his attitude here: although he cannot be worthy of the woman, he still must have the courage to claim her anyway.

4 comments:

Santiago said...

What about beauty? Can a man marry a woman more beautiful than he?

Sheila said...

He has to. ; )

Andreth said...

I do think that this works both ways though; the woman should never feel worthy of the man either.

Sheila said...

Definitely true.