Sleep of the Magi


The Magi are sleeping their stone sleep
High in Autun Cathedral.
The sculptor set aside his chisel and helped them
off with their robes,
Tucked the woven coverlet around them –
He allowed them to keep their crowns – how
Would we know them, without their crowns?

All but one, bedfellow up top
Whose bare arm dints the rippled coverlet
(Someone skipped a pebble and ripples spread
Till they bounced off the edges,
Fraying a little, like a bedtime story),
Whose round eyes gaze into the dark.

It’s the look you would have
If you woke in a strange place
And tried to remember where you were
And how you got there.

It’s the look you’d have
If someone switched the light on
Wham! and pointed to the sky –
A comet; maybe a star.

It went behind a cloud
And they lay down to wait for it to clear up
So tuckered after all their journeying
That the Angel, whose wings are like fish-scale
roof-tiles of a Burgundy mansion,
Had to come and wake them.

From Against Gravity by Beverley Bie Brahic

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Worple Press