Poems for Advent 5
Journey of the Magi
after a fragment of an ancient Persian legend
The best laid plans of camel and of king.
Seamless from the start had come undone
here at the first: an audience of three
or more? together with the child. Someone-
was it the mother? (they’d always
afterwards be in dispute over) asked them
to attend but each alone, according
to their stars to both adore and worship him.
Thus they went in, one following the next
close on each other’s heels but
privately. And he appeared to them
in turn exactly as themselves - though
changed, as each one might have been
after a lifetime’s striving for attainment.
Finally they all went in - together
and found a boy of thirteen days
lying in a clean but straw lined
cattle-trough. They left some gifts
amongst the accoutrements of so many bits
and pieces. And under the mantle
of intrigue and other machinations - fled:
back to what was home. Now
unrecognizable. Only their camels and
their cloaks rode with them as familiars.
Their speech swollen by small slow fires
of an unknown tongue; their view of
everything seen through the wide
bright eyes of a child.