Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page on January 6, 2019.
Did they camel-caravan
together from the slopes of Iran,
and navigate by two-out-of-three votes
at each fork in the road
to stay on their star course?
Or did the trio meet
beneath palms of a beaten path crossroads
energetic personalities drawn like dusty magnets
from Europe, Arabia, and Africa
to this axis of Bethlehem?
They may not have been quite kings,
but bore gifts kingly enough,
a trinity of heavy-lidded greetings in
gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
These may have missed
as far as standard baby gifts,
couldn’t have candles, flour
or linens be better used?
And the magi’s arrival may have been delayed
a year or two from tracking down stars
without a telescope.
But who were their gifts really for?
As every year we try to unwrap and rewrap
these treasures so tightly bound.
Could gold, gleaming in its royalty,
be untarnished enough for a virtuous king?
And frankincense, with its small still fragrant voice of purity,
serve as a priestly smoke of worship and prayer?
Then myrrh, a sacrificial balm reserved to preserve the dead,
stand as an elegant unguent to relieve the suffering of many?
It could be these men were just chasing a star,
or traversing afar to face the radiance
of one all the wiser.