Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Merry Christmas!!!

The Nativity
by G.K. Chesterton

The thatch on the roof was as golden,
    Though dusty the straw was and old,
The wind had a peal as of trumpets,
    Though blowing and barren and cold,
The mother's hair was a glory
    Though loosened and torn,
For under the eaves in the gloaming
        A child was born.

Have a myriad children been quickened,
    Have a myriad children grown old,
Grown gross and unloved and embittered,
    Grown cunning and savage and cold?
God abides in a terrible patience,
    Unangered, unworn,
And again for the child that was squandered
        A child is born.

What know we of aeons behind us,
    Dim dynasties lost long ago,
Huge empires, like dreams unremembered,
    Huge cities for ages laid low?
This at least--that with blight and with blessing,
    With flower and with thorn,
Love was there, and his cry was among them,
        "A child is born."

Though the darkness be noisy with systems,
    Dark fancies that fret and disprove,
Still the plumes stir around us, above us
    The wings of the shadow of love:
Oh! princes and priests, have ye seen it
    Grow pale through your scorn;
Huge dawns sleep before us, deep charges,
        A child is born.

And the rafters of toil still are gilded
    With the dawn of the stars of the heart,
And the wise men draw near in the twilight,
    Who are weary of learning and art,
And the face of the tyrant is darkened,
    His spirit is torn,
For a new king is enthroned; yea, the sternest,
        A child is born.

And the mother still joys for the whispered
    First stir of unspeakable things,
Still feels that high moment unfurling
    Red glory of Gabriel's wings.
Still the babe of an hour is a master
    Whom angels adorn,
Emmanuel, prophet, anointed,
        A child is born.

And thou, that art still in thy cradle,
    The sun being crown for thy brow,
Make answer, our flesh, make an answer,
    Say, whence art thou come--who art thou?
Art thou come back on earth for our teaching
    To train or to warn--?
Hush--How may we know?--knowing only
        A child is born.