The Twelve Days: 12 - Magi bearing myrrh
Published on 06 Jan 2018
You know how the stars dance their magic in the skies,
while the tent flaps rustle to the light of the fireflies.
The camels breathe restless, no longer the heavens tame,
the canopy of black speckled night rent by
We must follow the bright even to the ends of the earth,
for our lives will begin there, where death will give birth.
At Herod’s palace, our Persian carpets were treasured,
supped on spiced plums, quail, wines without measure.
He too had sensed the earth tremble, a quickening of heart,
he too had consulted his ensemble, making the laws their art.
We all sought what would move the world upon a new axis,
the coming of a power that would change our every practice.
He whispered of a small hill town, ‘the House of Flesh’,
Beit Lehem, and so we journeyed, dined and refreshed
into the heat, where scorpions play in the stones and snakes
slide into shade, escaping the bread that the sun will bake
deep in the womb of the earth, where only darkness once was
and now a quickening of life, the overturning of law.
We did not believe the squalor, the damp, the smell of dung,
The straw meant only for rough cattle’s tongue.
I was dressed in my best: cadmium and alizarin robes,
hot Egyptian beaten gold hung from my lobes.
Softest calf cured leather clad my feet. In my arms,
from the largest bull in Asia, a horn of ruler’s balm.
Then I stopped. And you see me as I saw him then:
With an old and tired man whose eyes were wild,
With a girl lying faint, old enough to be his child,
And a babe on straw upon splintered hewn wood.
He made us stare. He made us stop, just where we stood.
He was naked, though covered with his mother’s love,
His father’s trust and wit – and the starry skies above.
The prince of peace, the ruler of the world, was there, where we gazed;
Listen to his words, look with your heart.
Image credit: Marcin Mazur/Clifton Diocese