by G.K. Chesterton

I cannot count the pebbles in the brook.
    Well hath He spoken: "Swear not by thy head.
    Thou knowest not the hairs," though He, we read,
Writes that wild number in His own strange book.

I cannot count the sands or search the seas,
    Death cometh, and I leave so much untrod.
    Grant my immortal aureole, O my God,
And I will name the leaves upon the trees,

In heaven I shall stand on gold and glass,
    Still brooding earth's arithmetic to spell;
    Or see the fading of the fires of hell
Ere I have thanked my God for all the grass.

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Last modified: 12th March, 1999
Martin Ward, De Montfort University, Leicester.