Joe Barnes

Matthew 2:7-12

Wise but well-mannered, they do their best
To hide their disappointment. Stars don’t lie,
They know, and this star in particular –
Scouring the night of all radiance but its own –
Must surely tell an important truth.
A squalling baby, a feverish mother, a father
Who seems a bit abashed by the whole affair:
It is not quite the miracle they expected.
Ceremony helps: They present their gifts
As they would to a satrap or proconsul,
Bowing low but beset by inward unease.
The arts that bridge the depths of mystery
Have merely borne them to another edge.
They grope their lightless way back home.

Poems used with permission of the authors, and may not be re-used without their permission.