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The Praise of Dust

'What of vile dust?' the preacher said.
Methought the whole world woke,
The dead stone lived beneath my foot,
And my whole body spoke.

'You, that play tyrant to the dust,
And stamp its wrinkled face,
This patient star that flings you not
Far into homeless space.

'Come down out of your dusty shrine
The living dust to see,
The flowers that at your sermon's end
Stand blazing silently.

'Rich white and blood-red blossom; stones,
Lichens like fire encrust;
A gleam of blue, a glare of gold,
The vision of the dust.

'Pass them all by: till, as you come
Where, at a city's edge,
Under a tree--I know it well--
Under a lattice ledge,

'The sunshine falls on one brown head.
You, too, O cold of clay,
Eater of stones, may haply hear
The trumpets of that day

'When God to all his paladins
By his own splendour swore
To make a fairer face than heaven,
Of dust and nothing more.'

Gilbert Keith Chesterton