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The Journey of the Magi

If, while on your journey, you came to a spot like this, it could feel like home.  But journey on.

If, while on your journey, you came to a spot like this, it could feel like home.
But journey on.

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 Magi
by T.S. Elliot
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For 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 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 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 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.
Source:Collected Poems 1909-1962, T.S. Elliot. London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 1974
Posted by opreach on December 23, 2013
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. 12/23/2013

    Wow, Pat. That’s some poem!! Such hidden depths of meaning. Christmas blessings wished for you, my friend. Peace and love from Izzy ♥

    Reply
    • 12/23/2013

      Thank you, Isabella Rose. And Merry Christmas to you! Pat

      Reply
  2. 12/23/2013
    Tom

    T.S.Eliot. One of my favorites throughout the year. Each advent, the late Frank Cleary S.J. always read this poem to our discussion group.

    Reply
    • 12/23/2013

      I love it too, Tom! And I’m always torn. It’s great for both Advent and for the Feast of the Epiphany. Blessings of this wonderful season to you! Pat

      Reply
  3. 12/23/2013

    Beautiful words of deep inspiration–Merry Christmas Sister Pat

    Reply
    • 12/23/2013

      Thank you, Julie! And may you enjoy the beauty of this Christmas season! Sister Pat

      Reply

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