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The Wise: a Christmas Poem

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Omnes de Saba venient by Salvador Dali

Saw this poem mentioned in Richard Swenson’s In Search of Balance and found it here

Miles across the turbulent kingdoms

They came for it, but that was nothing,

That was the least.  Drunk with vision,

Rain stringing in the ragged beards,

When a beast lamed, they caught up another

And goaded west.

For the time was on them.

Three wise men by Eric Gill

Once, as it may, in the life of a man,

Once, as it was, in the life of mankind,

All is corrected.  And their years of pursuit,

Raw-eyed reading the wrong texts,

Charting the doubtful calculations,

Those nights knotted with thought,

When dawn held off, and the rooster

Rattled the leaves with his blind assertion—

All that, they regarded, under the Sign,

No longer as search but as preparation.

For when the mark was made, they saw it.

Nor stopped to reckon the fallible years,

But rejoiced and followed,

And are called “wise”, who learned that Truth,

When sought and at last seen,

Is never found.  It is given.

Adoration of the shepherds by Bassano

And they brought their camels

Breakneck into that village,

And flung themselves down in the dung and dirt of that place,

And kissed that ground, and the tears

Ran on their faces, where the rain had.

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