This is one of my favourite poems. For me, it is about the transformation that results in an encounter with the Christ Child.
The Journey of the Magi [by TS 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 kiking 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.

No one can write a sequel to TS Eliot but his poem caused me to reflect on another character in the same drama whose response to the possibility of transformation was somewhat different. The poem was written some twenty years ago so my apologies for an out of date metaphor near the end.
The Journey of Herod
Before Christmas the kingdom was under control.
My life, although not angelic,
was not out of the ordinary;
I was established in the status quo.
But then those foreigners,
those magicians,
those astrologers who plan their lives by stars
came by to see about a king
other than I!
And who can run my life but me?
Who would have the audacity?
Kill-switch this light
that brings me face to face
with who I really am
and who I might become.
It is frightening and unknown.
Kill-switch this breaking day
that shatters my life of night
into pieces lying on the floor–
helpless.
Now I see babies, beggars, Romans…
all the riff-raff running to it!
Kill-switch this light
that beckons me too bright
with revealing glow and penetrating warmth,
and a child’s voice.
I might never be the same again
I fear.
Kill-switch!
I cannot sleep
although it’s dark as black;
relentlessly these daggers of the dawn
keep coming at me like screen-saver stars
and driving me insane.
Kill-switch.
Advertisements