My name is Lazarus and I live

by abbamoses

G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)

Lazarus Saturday, which precedes Palm Sunday in the Orthodox Church, is a traditional time for the baptism of converts. My son’s church received five “newly chosen warriors of Christ” as the service puts it, on this past Saturday, which reminded me of this fine poem by G. K. Chesterton, an English convert to Roman Catholicism.

The Convert

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.