January 6, Epiphany and the first day of Mardi Gras,
in the year of Our Lord 2015
The quiet alone is holy and enough
So long as night still darkens into dawn
And fallen starlight rises from a lawn
Whose snowflakes twinkle deep in matter’s stuff.
And on this night when hope and fear grew calm
The Wise Men knelt where Child and Mother were
With gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh
For king and god, for soul and body’s balm.
And as the words of Matthew draw me in
Once more to where the heart and mind are one
Though history and myth have come undone
In these late days when faith itself is sin
I think how many winters just the same
Revels of music, food, drink, dance, and sex
Have ruled with Orpheus, Comus, Bacchus, Rex—
Those passing kings great crowds loudly acclaim.
Now stars of Hollywood outshine the Star
With glittering gifts all wise men would disdain
Though thousands wait for throws in dark and rain,
Not Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
And so Old Adam still will have his day
As celebrant at feasts some people keep
For flesh and blood that never wake from sleep,
This bread and wine of human show and play.
Yet now and then forever in the fields
Of space and time whose carnivals will end
Shepherds abide through night to watch and tend
Till Wise Men come to know and knowledge yields.