Sunday, January 17, 2010

What happens when I read Chesterton

I love G. K. Chesterton. He's a genius. *nods* But, there comes a time after reading about 5 books in a week, that one starts thinking Chestertonian thoughts. And that's not a bad thing at all! It can be a very good thing. But it also can lead one to writing long tirades against streetlights, as it did to someone we both know. Hehe....

So, without further ado, here is my Chesterton-inspired (and very Chestertonian) rant for your reading enjoyment. :) It is rather long. O.o But I had fun writing it. *giggles*


Streetlights have, from since I first consciously took note of them, have been of indescribable horror to me. There is something inestimably dreary about how they stand, and yet drearily estimable; for it would prove a hard task indeed to find two street poles that are not alike. From one town to the next, the lights seem to stalk you, uprooting from the town you left, and flying ahead of you to appear, tired and ageless, lining the streets of the next town. But for all the terror they inspire, there can still be pity for the unending column of poles. They are lined up like prisoners in a work camp, heads bowed in exhaustion. For all their weariness, they are forced into a straight row. Never does one step out, under some penalty more effective than that of death, and they hold to the precise, exact spot where the surveyor with his straight tape commanded them to be planted and remain. And when the darkness tries to fall, the streetlights trip it up even further. Changelessly, the rows of lights stretch into the distance, maddening in its sameness, infuriating in its perfect straightness. I can never look at them, save without thinking of the crumbling columns of a cannibal temple; and can never keep from searching for past offerings. An obsolete lamplighter, perhaps. Driven mad to the death by the magic lights which need neither lighting, nor extinguishing.

Perhaps I could forgive such quaint old flickering inventions that require the twice daily round of the sooty lighter. There can even be romance found in such extinct ancestors of the streetlight. They, at least, were not identical, and were placed less exactly then these modern day abominations. The flickering, dancing light lent an air of comfort and peace to the night; like coming back to one’s home from a long day away. But the new, perfect, modern, cold hard steel streetlights have no reckoning with their burning forefathers. They ooze identical, unnatural glow, like eye-searing phosphorescence from long petrified trees; they drown the dreamy moonlight with sadistic pleasure, and stifle the stars with lurid radiation. Streetlights with one branch are common enough and the horror repeated so very often, that even such dread looses its sharp and poignant terror. But twin light poles are a sickening, startling departure from patiently borne tortures. It is as if the infuriating man whom you are just beginning to bear suddenly sprouts another head, and becomes a living sacrilege, instead of being just a curse. In these double branched disgraces, all the abominable qualities of the single branch are present, with new methods added to tax the brain. To the maddening similarity of the single poles as they stand monotonously in their procession, comes the nigh-unbearable symmetry in the very structure of the double. They are sets of eyes, mocking eyes, frenzied eyes, all in a row that goes on forever, and all staring; staring at you. If the single lighted lamps are tired workers bowed over, then the double is the bone-chilling and mind-numbing apparition of a chimera. Double headed beasts, who look both forward and back, and see all the most secret deeds. Silent, grotesque guarders over some midnight orgy, or cannibal feast.

Even the purpose of the lamps themselves is deplorable. No mystery remains in the night, for its Darkness has been taken away. Modern man looks back at the Egyptians, and laughs over their fear of going out without the sun in the sky. But take modern man, without his streetlights, in the pitch-black darkness, and he too will feel the same horror of ghosts breathing down his neck; of gods angry at being disturbed. But I would take the electric shock of sharp fear, the allure of mystery and secret hiding in the soul of the black night, over the every-night electric hum of the streetlights, that sets one’s teeth on edge. An affront against the long-suffering wisdom of nature, they are; an antidote for one of her most healing and peaceful gifts. They shed light on the trees, where the trees should stand shrouded in mystery like a sharp perfume, banishing the breath-taking, glorious night fears and replacing them with dull droning and irksome illumination. But yet, darkness with the black poles looming overhead is infinitely more terrible then night by itself. Do they move, when your back is turned, and the street is black? Do they shuffle around, quickly changing places, to stand, still and weary once more when there is light again? They are each the same, so there is no way of knowing if they had traded placed when one looked away. A macabre form of hide-and-go-seek, to be sure; with the players hiding in plain site, and all the more invisible for that. But now, I regret to say (or you rejoice to hear) that this long tirade must come to an end. Too long, I fear, have I sat with my back to the streetlights. Too long have they known my secret terror. I can write no longer, I must sneak a glance at them again, and reassure myself they are not creeping closer. It will at least set them back a few steps.

And, just as a friendly reminder (I haven't gotten to say this for a long time ^_^ *savors the moment*): Don't say more, say Mordor!

6 comments:

Angel_Horses said...

I absolutely wuve it XD XD XD *glomps Bridget estatically*

I must say, I agree entirely. *shifty eyes* But the streetlights you fear lack, somehow the sheer maliciousness of the streetlight that stands at the corner of Silver Lake and Russell

It despises me to the utter depths of its cold, lifeless heart. It stands there, yes, at the very corner where two, out of the way side streets, far from the living, meet. It gleams with a baleful look in its malevolent eye as I approach, walking wearily with slow, shuffling steps, with a paperbag with only two paper in it over my shoulder. It correctly interpets this to mean that I am nearing the end of my route, and also the end of my wakefulness and watchfulness. In other words, I am the perfect victim for its twisted designs.

But it bides its time, as I walk down the road toward its, waits, indeed, sometimes until I have delivered to the house that stands on the corner of Silver Lake and Russell. It waits until I have set my feet again on the age-old pavement and set them onwards. Sometimes, it waits (like any good animal of prey) until I am almost below it. Often, it seems to shine with a deceptively bright light as I approach, and then, when I am well within its trap--suddenly, the bright, unblinking eyes of malice is closed! Darkness closes in around! And it laughs, to see the age-old fears swirl slowly as they gather around me, hissing in triumph at the victory of darkness of the human heart!

It does it every morning, too. O.o

Rose Marchen said...

Brilliant Ranya! Absolutely brilliant! I couldn't agree more.

Lady Blanche Rose said...

Oh, I love it, Ranya! And I'm in total agreement!

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McKay said...

That was such fun! Great little rant!

Adonnenniel said...

YAY for Chestertonian rants!
^_^ ^_^ ^_^
That made me very happy. :) :)

Mordor!! Please, please Mordor!