The Magi – a poem

Today is the 6th January, 3 Kings day in several countries. But who is to say if the Magi were Kings? They were astronomers. Perhaps they were not even only men, and nowhere in the bible does it say that there were 3 of them

The Israelites had a tradition of personifying wisdom as a woman. Proverbs Chapter 8 begins

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand.

If Jewish audiences were used to hearing wisdom personified in female terms it might not have been surprising to them that some of the magi who personified wisdom in the nativity account could also have been a woman. 

The gospel of Matthew does not mention that Joseph was present at all when the magi came to visit.  In fact in the account, we find the phrase ‘the child and his mother’ five times but no mention of a father. Vivano says that in Middle Eastern tradition it would not have been at all proper for a woman to be in the presence of men without other women present. If some of the magi had been women there would have been no issue with Mary welcoming them in to visit Jesus even though her husband Joseph was not there.

The Magi are also not Kings, or even Wise men, but astronomers. They took a long time to reach Jesus, and there is every reason to believe that he would have been around 2 years of age when they did, which ties with the massacre of all boy children under the age of 2 by Herod.

So here is my poem about the Magi from the East

Looking up into the sky is what we do every night,

for when the darkness falls, the stars do shine most bright.

The planets are above us,

The stars and milky way.

You only need to read them

To know what they want to say.

One night it was especially clear,

Not a cloud in sight.

When suddenly in the West

We saw a new star rise.

It rose above all the rest;

symbolic of a new born king.

Our ancient texts had foretold such a star as this.

A child would be born, quite humble, and rise to greater things.

To see such a star, and such a child was enough to give us wings.

We saddled up our camels, with all that we would need:

Water, spices, cloths and food.

The camels they could sense our mood,

They rose mightily from the ground

And we started our caravan.

There were several of us on the trip

Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar,

Ava, Sara and Soraya.

The servants too, they had to come

Yasmin, Ahmed and Solayman.

And then as guards, we took 2 Men

As fierce and strong as 7 lions.

Abbas, so well named

And Bijan, a Hero widely famed.

The roads were hard, and full of dust

By day we’d sleep, for sleep we must

By night we would follow that brightest star

And always know just where we are.

The journey took us many months,

And often times, someone would cry:

What are we doing?

Are we quite mad?

But then would quieten when they saw

The star ahead of us, clear and raw.

We traded cloth and spices too

We bartered for gifts,

that for a King would do.

Finally after many months

We reached the city Jerusalem.

We asked around about the King

And Herod did invite us in.

He seemed quite nice,

He bought some spice,

But of a new King, he did not know.

But was keen to also go

And worship him. Or so he said.

And so we left, feeling much refreshed

And travelled on to Bethlehem.

where finally the star did stop

shining brightly above a house.

We met the child, and his Mother too.

A spirit of peace filled the place,

The child was calm, and seemed to sense

How far we had travelled and why we were sent.

We gave our gifts

And in the night

Sara had a vivid sight,

That filled us all with dread

For Herod wanted the child king dead.

And so we left another way

And travelled quickly in the day,

Guided no longer by a star,

But guided by our joyful hearts.

The way back home was just as long

But now we felt so much more strong

We had seen a King; that much we knew

A privilege granted to just a few.