G K Chesterton

The Shamus
With cross of blue and shambling walk
I was the butt of scorn
But came the sting on Hampstead Heath
Who was player, and who pawn?

I'd mixed up oranges and nuts
Switched sugar for the salt
And thrown a soup bowl at the wall
(The chef was not at fault).

I seem a harmless Essex priest
With surplice and umbrella
But any master criminal
Knows I'm a fearsome feller.

Fools! Do not underrate the brain
Behind this moon-like face
For when the éclaircissement comes
You'll find I've solved the case.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) first came to my notice when I was at primary school, aged about eight. Everyone in the class had to read aloud the poem of their choice. I chose a piece called How the leaves came down. I don't know who wrote it; it was very twee and entirely suitable for an eight-year-old, I still think. But my friend Nicholas - possibly with a little help from his parents - came up with Chesterton's The Donkey. I couldn't understand it at all, and felt seriously intimidated. This parody of it is my belated revenge.

Chesterton wrote criticism, essays and novels, including the Father Brown stories, about an insignificant-looking little Essex priest who is also an all-solving amateur detective. In a story called The Blue Cross, Father Brown leads the police to himself and the dangerous criminal he is with by leaving a trail of odd occurrences across Hampstead.

Back to Parodies home page. 

© Bob Newman 2004. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 11/12/2004