Thou Shalt Not Kill
I had grown weary of him; of his breath
And hands and features I was sick to death.
Each day I heard the same dull voice and tread;
I did not hate him: but I wished him dead.
And he must with his blank face fill my life-
Then my brain blackened; and I snatched a knife.
But ere I struck, my soul's grey deserts through
A voice cried, 'Know at least what thing you do.'
'This is a common man: knowest thou, O soul,
What this thing is? somewhere where seasons roll
There is some living thing for whom this man
Is as seven heavens girt into a span,
For some one soul you take the world away-
Now know you well your deed and purpose. Slay!'
Then I cast down the knife upon the ground
And saw that mean man for one moment crowned.
I turned and laughed: for there was no one by-
The man that I had sought to slay was I.
G. K. Chesterton
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Last modified: 6th October, 2021