Chris Jones

The Adoration of the Magi

Drove road to Saint Botolph’s; psalms of wind
sound the tree-tops. None to meet us
when we wade the flooded meadows of the parish,
then come dripping through the orchard.
Brown hangs his boots and shirt about the porch.
We have a scout. Here are four wooden crosses,
stones that whisper Ora pro nobis,
star-breasted angels, and high above a northern arch

slow Magi loom from out the night.
Jasper’s fit for fields more than a palace,
he kneels with gold that flares like tips of wheat,
his bare head touched by sun, grace, solace.
I fetch a ladder. Brown works the whitewash,
and just for good measure, cuts Mary’s face.

*

The first poem in Chris Jones’s sequence Death and the Gallant, which explores iconoclasm in seventeenth century English culture. Death and the Gallant is the second sequence in The Footing. Listen to Chris Jones reading this poem below:

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