Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chesterton's Teeth

I've read that Chesterton had really bad teeth, and he is rarely seen smiling with his teeth showing. From what I've heard, you can be glad this isn't a color photograph. Naturally, all that smoking, and the times he lived in, led to poor dental care.


  1. Oh, boy. This reminds me of a hilarious poem by GKC, of which I will only quote part, though not indented as GKC did. Do NOT be drinking or eating when you read this. You have been warned.

    "To A Modern Poet"

    about it?

    I am sorry
    if you have
    a green pain
    gnawing your brain away.
    I suppose
    quite a lot of it is
    gnawed away
    by this time.

    I did not give you
    a green pain
    or even
    a grey powder.
    It is rather you, so winged, so vortical,
    Who give me a pain.

    When I have a pain
    I never notice
    the colour.

    But I am very unobservant.
    I cannot say
    I ever noticed that the pillar-box
    was like a baby
    skinned alive and screaming.
    I have not
    a Poet's
    which can see Beauty

    Now you mention it,
    Of course, the sky
    is like a large mouth
    shown to a dentist,
    and I never noticed
    a little thing
    like that....

  2. Oooh. I like his use of the word "vortical". It is the kind of thing on which one might write a whole dissertation (or even two!)

    Perhaps I shall have some of my grad students look into this.

    I will have to remember to use "vortical" in my next journal article.

  3. An Englishmen with bad teeth? Who would have believed it.

  4. Maybe that's why he looks so serious and unsmiling in some of his other photos?


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