Archive for December 2nd, 2018

Sunday, 2 December 2018

The Meeting Place by Christopher Pilling

(after Rubens: The Adoration of the Magi, 1634)

It was the arrival of the kings
that caught us unawares;
we’d look in on the woman in the barn,
curiosity you could call it,
something to do on a cold winter’s night;
we’d wished her well—
that was the best we could do, she was in pain,
and the next thing we knew
she was lying on the straw
—the little there was of it—-
and there was a baby in her arms.

It was, as I say, the kings
that caught us unawares…
Women have babies every other day,
not that we are there—
let’s call it a common occurrence though,
giving birth. But kings
appearing in a stable with a
‘Is this the place?’ and kneeling,
each with his gift held out towards the child!
They didn’t even notice us.
Their robes trailed on the floor,
rich, lined robes that money couldn’t buy.
What must this child be
to bring kings from distant lands
with costly incense and gold?

And what were we to make of
was it angels falling through the air,
entwined and falling as if from the rafters
to where the gaze of the kings met the child’s
—assuming the child could see?
What would the mother do with the gifts?
What would become of the child?
And we’ll never admit there are angels
or that somewhere between
one man’s eye’s and another’s
is a holy place, a space where a king could be
at one with a naked child,
at one with an astonished soldier.

From: https://talesfromthelandingbookshelves.com/tag/christopher-pilling/

Date: 1982

By: Christopher Pilling (1936- )

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