Following Yonder Star

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.”

Waiting for the Adoration

Nativity Scene by Craig Mitchell


Waiting for the Adoration

Twelve days waiting in a barn for them, we were,
For two weeks, nearly, with the horses.
Two weeks of waiting for a bit of gold and myrrh,
And a warning not to fall to Herod’s forces.

The shepherds came by early, but they couldn’t stay for long:
As they’d left their sheep all grazing in the pasture.
(I hoped the wolves weren’t prowling, nor the north-wind blowing strong,
And their truancy not noticed by their master.)

Surely now the census had been tallied up and done,
There must have been some room back in the inn ?
But there we slept, and waited, till the angel told us “Run”…
…Or was it we went home, back to our kin ?

And that, my lad, is how you spent a fortnight in a manger,
Upon the hay – or so we’ve always spun.
They must have used the Julian, those fine-attired strangers,
While you were pure Gregorian, my son !



That I Might Know the Proof of You



That I Might Know the Proof of You

Eeza geezer, Dionysus.
Gizza nuzzer to entice us
Inniz wurship – God of Gordons.
Bollocks to them prudy wardens
Sipping on their PG Tipsy,
Brewing herbs like any gypsy.
Scoring tuts they hope will crack us.
Help to keep us drunk, oh Bacchus !
Make us all too sloshed to care,
And stink our belches, glaze our stare –
Then dull their nagging, blur their saga.
Piss me up, oh Lord of Lager !
Spirits call me to your shrine;
Visions fill me, Vine Divine !
Awe-full shakes set me a quiver.
Take this sacrifice: my liver.



Not Only Pascal’s Wager

white dices on checked wood
Photo by Pixabay on


Not Only Pascal’s Wager

If God is not, and I believe,
Then my mistake shall matter none to me;
And when I come this life to leave,
I matter none to void infinity.

If God there is, and I abstain,
Then my mistake shall matter great and well;
And when I quit this earthly plain,
I matter none to He who saves from Hell.

If God is not, or God there is,
Still our mistake, for taking up this bet;
So ere our lives are done, know this –
They matter much, they might be all we get.



Drowning in the Jordan

detail from Supper at Emmaus by Carravaggio


Drowning in the Jordan

Dead of winter, and Josh drinks alone –
His birthday today, and the years have flown.
Thirty today, and what has he done ?
Never been married, never had a son.
He feels he’s achieved far less than he’d oughta
Whittling the wood while his life’s getting shorter
“Gimme a break, an’ I’ll set the joint humming,
I’ll give unto Caesar just what he’s got coming !”

“I’m gonna
Rise with the dawn to pray and sing,
I’m gonna
Rise with the dawn and bless the poor –
They’re gonna raise me up an’ crown me king,
An’ when they think me beat, I’ll be back for more !”

Dead of winter, and Josh drinks alone –
All night he’s preaching in his slurrey drone.
He’s wasted round here, his vital mission:
There’s plenty to hear him, but none to listen.
Already he’s had two more than he oughta,
Knocking it back as though it were water.
He bangs down his grail with an angry thud:
“Gimme another, cos this is my blood !”

“I’m gonna
Find me some fishermen, and practice how to talk,
I’m gonna
Find me some fishermen and go from town to town –
I’m gonna cross the waves if I have to walk,
And if you wanna stop me, you’ll havta nail me down !”

Dead of winter, and Josh drinks alone –
This world is a bitch and it needs to atone.
He’s got his sermons and hymns to dispense –
He’s telling his stories, but they don’t make sense.
“Why won’t you bastards listen like you oughta ?
Why won’t you hark to the lessons what I taught yer ?
The love of money is the root of all malign !”

But the barman doesn’t care as he charges for the wine.

“I’m gonna
Work with my hands till I raise some sparks,
I’m gonna
Work with my hands till they heed what I tell,
One day so these palms are gonna bear marks,
An’ if you don’t believe me, I’ll see you in Hell !”

Dead of winter, and Josh drinks alone,
He’s got his second wind, he’s rolling back the stone –
Says he’s gotta leave and join the cherubim,
To do unto others like they’d better do to him.
He knows he’s delayed for longer than he oughta:
Someone’s gotta be the Devil’s holy thwarter
Someone’s gotta sow so the reapers reap their seedful
Someone’s gotta help all the camels through the needle.

“I’m gonna
Quit this hick town and walk the Earth,
I’m gonna
Quit this hick town and bang my drum,
I’m gonna walk out and show them what I’m worth,
I’m gonna walk out till kingdom come !”