January 4, 2015: Feast of the Epiphany

Epiphany Poem

George Mackay Brown (1921 – 1996)

The red king
Came to a great water. He said,
Here the journey ends.
No keel or skipper on this shore.

The yellow king
Halted under a hill. He said,
Turn the camels round.
Beyond, ice summits only.

The black king
Knocked on a city gate. He said,
All roads stop here.
These are gravestones, no inn.

The three kings
Met under a dry star.
There, at midnight,
The star began its singing.

The three kings
Suffered salt, snow, skulls.
They suffered the silence
Before the first word.

Epiphany (1988) John August Swanson

About the author: Considered one of Scotland’s greatest poets, George Mackay Brown, a convert to Catholicism, drew inspiration from themes related to the rhythms of life and death, rituals, and recurring cycles of fishing and agrarian existence witnessed from his birthplace, the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

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