Following Yonder Star

magi
The Three Wise Men by James McConnell

 

Following Yonder Star

“…there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

When we first saw the star, we knew.
The whole of our lives we were waiting for signs,
And here was just such a clue –
And oh, what a clue !  How she shimmers and shines.
What is her news ?
A King of the Jews !
And just in time for the midwinter feast !
A saviour is born,
So set off at dawn,
And follow His star in the east.

As we followed that star, we thought
That our route would take us a strange way yet:
For if Judea were sought,
Then why does she lead us on into Tibet ?
But on we must trek
With the star as our check,
Until the ocean was stopping us dead.
So we chartered a ship
To continue our trip,
Because she was waiting ahead.

So we followed the star by sea –
Always due east would she lead our band,
Until we wise men three
Were finally washed on an unknown land.
And on we went
’Cross the continent
And strange were the people and customs upon.
Then at the next moat
We hadn’t a boat,
So we build one – and so we sailed on.

And we followed the star some more,
Across the African sands we were coming,
Until at last at the Jewish shore
We reached the land for which we were plumbing.
We took from our camels
Fine skins and enamels,
And spices and lapis, all fit for a priest,
And strange silks and feathers
We’d gathered together
From all of the lands of the east.

We knew we could trust her, we sighed,
She brought us all safe where we needed to be.
Now where is the child ?  we cried,
Where is the one who we travelled to see ?
We told the bazaar
How we followed the star
To the King of the Jews, of whom we bespeak.
Then up spoke an urchin:
“How long you been searching ?
They just nailed that guy up last week.”

The Three Orders

capitals

 

The Three Orders

In architecture, from Greeks to the now
There are only three orders to choose:
Doric, Ionic, Corinthian columns
Are all that will ever be used.
Yet each has a world of variety in it,
From Bassae to Capitol Hill;
So Tuscan and Composite aren’t so unusual,
They’re Doric, Corinthian still.

 

 

Decline & Fall

course of empire
The Course of Empire: Destruction by Thomas Cole

 

Decline & Fall

The Romans faced decline, they say,
A hundred years or more,
Before the Goths stole Rome away,
All in one day.
It wasn’t just a day, of course,
With forces building at the core
Throughout the hundred years before.

So were there Romans in that fray
Who watched the turning of the tide,
The steady slide, the slow decay ?
And were they powerless to stay
The endless slump of getting worse,
The creeping curse, the seeping sore,
The gradual fade to grey ?

Or did they never smell the rot
They’d got ?  Perhaps too decadent,
Too drunk to see their own descent,
Too busy in the hay.
They maybe missed the skulking spore
Until the joists had given way,
And brought Rome to the floor.

But that was then.  We’ve surely learned
How Rome was burned from within as without:
The morals shine and loudly shout,
And history shall not be spurned.
And yet.., I sometimes look about
And wonder where we’ll be in, say,
A hundred years or more.

Verses in Hades

Art & Literature
Art & Literature by William Bouguereau

Verses in Hades

Ah, those Classicists,
Those poets of antiquity !
They never faced the style fascists,
Never faced creative mists,
With lines that must engage in trysts –
They could keep it loose and gritty.
Rhythm, metre, drove their gist.
Their audience would ne’er insist
Their lines be docked and chimed and kissed;
How our plight they must so pity.
Sappho, Virgil, Homer, Horace
Never had to suffer this:
They never had their epic bliss
Reduced by form into a ditty.
Of all the literary crimes
Befallen us since ancient times,
I curse the most whoe’er invented rhymes.