Poetic thoughts on the feast of the Epiphany

They are still following stars you know, 
 those searchers from afar
with their ancient philosophies
and new technologies.

They assess the perfect pull of opposing gravities,
peeling off the light
to penetrate the mysterious dark
and extricate possible answers,
pitting their brilliant minds
against the adamantine doors of truth and illusion.

Meanwhile in a shadowed loop of time
a new-born child turns his head from the sharp light
and weeps for the warm dark
which swam him so sweetly
and now spits him out on to an alien shore
until gentle arms gather him to a new warmth
where his little pearly fingers twine into the lifeline
of the Mother's bright hair.

And that simple place breathes a profound sense
of homecoming
Among stargazers and shepherds alike
as the filtering light lifts the child's face
from the nocturnal shadows and,
for those who can read,
answers are spinning in the majestic galaxies
or scribbled in the summer-scented hay
of an improvised bed for a baby.



Whether the bright star
Was reflected literally in the eyes of shepherds;
Whether it glinted historically
On the rich harness of teamed travelers
Crossing the plain between Tigris and Euphrates
To duck their questing heads at last under a low lintel,
Or whether the words speak with a deeper kind of truth
is equally relevant

Whether the music that night
was actually angels singing
Or the irrepressible hum of a universe
which could not contain itself
at the small simplicity of the measureless miracle,
neither dims nor brightens
the truth of the message.

So where then do we fit, you and I
in this cosmic collage
of wisps of hay and precious substances?
of gaping shepherds, haunting music
and exotic strangers groping among spattered stars?

I know only this!
That you have always been good tidings in my life,
with your strong hand on a simple wooden latch
And your dreaming eyes on a star.

Sr. Patricia Mary Bolton rsm
Christmas For my friends at Christmas with gratitude
Image of Christ Child Anne Hewitt rsm