The Journey of the Magi


25 December 2017

Once again I invite reflection on a poem written in 1927 by T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). Journey of the Magi is told from the point of view of one of the magi. It is a faith journey that expresses themes of alienation and a feeling of powerlessness in a changing world, but the Birth changes everything….

A very sincere thank you to my readers who have been supportive in word and gesture. Every good wish for Christmas and the New Year. In 2018, may we all be strong, encouraging, and faith-filled in our human journeys.

I will be away from my computer for a few days and will return after Epiphany.

Warmest regards, Jack.

Journey Of The Magi by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.’

And the camels galled, sorefooted, 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 going 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 arriving at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you might 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 led all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly

We had evidence and no doubt. I had 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.

4 thoughts on “The Journey of the Magi

  1. Thank you, Jack, for all you do for us, your readers. You are the conduit of the Spirit. May you, Joske, and Brian have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas and a fulfilling new year full of hope.
    Peace!
    Frank Skeltis

  2. Merry Christmas, Jack, to you and yours. Thank you for everything you do.to keep me thinking, longing for inclusive change, and the hope you give by letting us know we are not alone in our thoughts.

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