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Is there any reward? -- Hilaire Belloc

       
(Poem #176) Is there any reward?
  Is there any reward?
  I'm beginning to doubt it.
  I am broken and bored,
  Is there any reward
  Reassure me, Good Lord,
  And inform me about it.
  Is there any reward?
  I'm beginning to doubt it.
-- Hilaire Belloc
While I had mentioned, in passing, that Belloc had written more than the
children's verse he is famous for, I was surprised to discover the sheer
quantity and versatility of his work.

Today's poem is a beautiful example. Like most of Belloc's work, it shows a
strong Christian influence, and is vaguely reminiscent of some of the
metaphysical poets (particularly Herbert), but lacking the heaviness that so
many of them possess, and injecting, instead, a refreshingly ironical tone.

Belloc has, IMO, that quality that distinguishes a good poet - the ability
to take a timeworn theme and write a poem that in no way sounds cliched or
stale. Note the intriguing conflict of moods in today's piece - the
underlying seriousness, the overlay of irony ('Reassure me, Good Lord...')
and the almost nursery-rhyme effect, with a tinge of despair, created by the
short lines (2 feet), simple rhymes and repetition. All intended, no doubt,
as a commentary on Man's relationship with God; our old friends form and
content engaged in their usual interplay.

Biography etc:

See the previous poem, poem #124

And for a nice collection of Belloc's poems, see
<http://rcatholic-l.freeservers.com/belloc.html>

m.

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