i wrote this some 15 years ago. kinda had forgotten all about it until about a year or so, when i cleaned up my floppy disk box (yes, i know... old).
the magi, epiphany, a good time to share this, i thought.
Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.
- W.H Auden
the wise men walk in the night. the winter wind cuts their faces, their nerves. where the hell are we? and what the hell are we doing? Melchior sings, to frighten the demons. Gaspar's mind wanders, wonders. Balthasar remembers the poem ... i've always been fascinated by these words of auden. i've pondered their meaning but to no avail. until now ... perhaps! "perhaps" is the key word: the uncertainty of our desires, the naiveté of our perception and yet the continual search, the constant doubts, the underlying hope which preserves us and guides us upon our respective paths. the utterance of the hope is what matters but our fears always force us to add "perhaps" ... as if it mattered! of course the roses want to grow. they do. and of course the vision intends to stay. it endures, even. and i am letting you know. even though that is the promise--or the belief?-- of a different world. the promise of a child, when she tells you a secret. or the belief of a child when he asked "where does the wind come from?" ... as if the child didn't know! but we adults too often rush into some explanation, only to hide our ignorance. the child only asked a rhetorical question ...
the wise men walk in the night. they follow the star, the hope, the promise. to what? a child in a cave, stinking, crying, demanding, pure, lonely, frightened ... the christ who cries out from the cross to a father he never kissed. the nights are cold and biting in the desert, the sand chilled by the ruthless wilderness. with this surrealist scenery in the background, they advance the sages of the east towards a destiny beyond belief. i wonder what their conversations might have been. perhaps (yes!) they ask each other about the roses, the vision ... only to arrive at the cave. the roses? i only see weeds. the world in its blindness so thinks. but the magi know that the child is the rose. the soft petals of his cheeks, the obvious thorns of his cries, the fragility of his youth, the beauty of his potential, of the years to come. and the vision stays. the star still adorns our nights. we tend to forget it though. we have too many lights in our nights, and not enough wilderness. so much fear that we confuse knowledge with supposition, doubt with hope.
the wise men walk in the night. the city lies in the distance. bethlehem. and a star, the silent witness of the birth, the mute herald of the miracle, the hand that reaches out, slightly touching, ever faithful, ever watchful, like the lover's eyes upon his asleep companion. he touches her, soft, light, amorous, and she lets her lips grant him a smile. she doesn't talk; she doesn't want to break the spell. her head rests heavy upon his chest. she is at peace, in peace, in his peace. that was better than any word. he loves her. and he knows she loves him.
the wise men walk in the night ... and they are met by god. bethlehem and the lovers have fallen asleep.