Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Poem for Epiphany

Today is Epiphany or Three Kings Day. Even if one is not a believer, the symbolism of earthly power paying homage to a higher, spiritual power is very meaningful. T.S. Eliot, in "Journey of the Magi," used the story as a metaphor for the difficult path to new religious belief. In "The Gift," William Carlos Williams sees the Magi's tribute as worship of love, both divine and human.

The Gift

As the wise men of old brought gifts
guided by a star
to the humble birthplace

of the god of love,
the devils
as an old print shows
retreated in confusion.

...the imagination
knows all such stories
before they are told
and knows the truth of this one
past all defection.

"The Gift" appears in the book Pictures From Breughel, Williams' final collection. I highly recommend getting hold of a copy and reading this poem in its entirety, as well as the many other fine pieces in the book.


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

So glad to know you're out there ... or ... right here in the DC area.

Thanks for the poem and thoughts. The path of the spirit is always challenging, yes?

And as for devils, well, they are never as powerful as they seem.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Right on all counts! Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to your posts.

1:13 PM  

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