Journey of the Magi
an adaptation of medieval songs, scripture and writings of T.S. Eliot
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light
See the former things have taken place and new things I declare, before they spring into being I announce them to you.
But you oh Bethleham...out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel whose origins are from old, from ancient times
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us
A cold coming we had of it, just the worst time of year for a 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 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 a 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.
They saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshipped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
For what they were not told they will see and what they have not heard they will understand.
He grew up like a tender shoot, like a root out of dry ground
see my servant will act wisely, and he will be raised and lifted up.
But he was pierced for our transgressions
Because he poured out his life unto death
Surely he took up our infirmities
he was crushed for our iniquities
and was numbered with the transgressors
And carried our sorrows
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him
for he bore the sin of many
And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all
and made intercession for the transgressors
and by his wounds we are healed
the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
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.