Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Magi

"Blogger" has been doing strange things with the entries which I "cut and paste" from a word document, e.g. publishing some of my text in upper case/capital letters.  This is beyond my control!  But I have changed the template on this blog to see if this will solve the problem.

Last evening (Jan 5th) I presided at an Eve of the Epiphany Eucharist at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key here in Sarasota FL.

I did not preach.  Instead I played a track from a C.D. on which T.S.Eliot reads his fabulous poem "The Journey of the Magi" (Thanks to Regina who gave me this C.D.).  I gave out printed copies of the poem so that the worshipers could both see and hear the words.

Here is the text of the poem, together with  with a link to YouTube on which T.S. himself can be heard reading it.


The Journey of the Magi,  T.S. Elliott

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was 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 lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have 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.

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