Greybeards at Play and The Wild Knight
By Dale Ahlquist
When G.K. Chesterton died in 1936, many of his obituaries predicted that he would be best remembered as a poet. This may be surprising to most of Chesterton’s readers today because they are more likely drawn to him by his still timely and quotable essays, his detective fiction, his social and literary criticism, or his eloquent defense of the faith. But Chesterton published several volumes of poetry during his life. In fact, his first two books, both published in 1900, were books of poetry. The first, Greybeards at Play, a slim collection of four poems, also contains several of his whimsical illustrations, as whimsical as the rhymes themselves:
My niece, the Barnacle, has got
my piercing eyes of black;
the Elephant has got my nose,
I do not want it back.