The Journey of the Magi
I love this poem by T.S. Elliot, and so I quote it in its entirety, even though it is a bit lengthy. This is the last of the poems from the Education of Justice website. I do hope you have enjoyed them!
The Journey of the Magiby T.S. ElliotA cold coming we had of it,Just the worst time of the yearFor the journey, and such a long journey:The ways 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 regrettedThe summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,And the silken girls bringing sherbet.Then the camel men cursing and grumblingAnd 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 unfriendlyAnd 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, sayingThat 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 continuedAnd arrived at evening, not a moment too soonFinding 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 downThis set downThis: were we led all that way forBirth 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 wasHard 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.Source:Collected Poems 1909-1962, T.S. Elliot. London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 1974