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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.

Jeff Guess


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