THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI


To all of my Another Voice friends and readers:

My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

I will be back with more reflections after Epiphany.

In 1926 Thomas Stearns Eliot converted to Anglo-Catholicism and his poetry took on a more obviously religious character. Here T. S. Eliot retells the story of the Magi who travelled to Palestine to visit the newborn Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew. It is told from the point of view of one of the Magi. It has a contemporary feel to it with themes of alienation and powerlessness in a world that has greatly changed. I call it to your attention as I did last Christmas.

magi (2)

THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI

 

“A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The was deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.”

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

 

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

 

All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we lead all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Explore posts in the same categories: Roman Catholic Church

5 Comments on “THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI”

  1. Mari Sutcliffe Says:

    Wishing you Jack and all the brave and aware souls at Another Voice a truly blessed Christmas. May our New Year be filled with resolve to continue the quest, no matter how hard and bitter it may also prove to be.The birth of the New may indeed require the Death of the Old. May we not mourn it but see it as a gateway to the true Glory.

  2. JAD Says:

    Thanks Mari. Very well said!
    Jack

  3. Patrick Collins Says:

    Merry Christmas, Jack. I am recovering well in Cedar MI from my Dec 2 right knee replacement surgery. Should get home after New Year’s.

  4. Laura Kuntz Says:

    Lovely, absolutely lovely.


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