The Queens Came Late
The Queens came late, but the Queens were there
With gifts in their hands and crowns in their hair.
They’d come, these three, like the Kings, from far,
Following, yes, that guiding star.
They’d left their ladles, linens, looms,
Their children playing in nursery rooms,
And told their sitters:
“Take charge! For this
Is a marvelous sight we must not miss!”
The Queens came late, but not too late
To see the animals small and great,
Feathered and furred, domestic and wild,
Gathered to gaze at a mother and child.
And rather than frankincense and myrrh
And gold for the babe, they brought for her
Who held him, a homespun gown of blue,
And chicken soup – with noodles, too -
And a lingering, lasting, cradle-song.
The Queens came late and stayed not long,
For their thoughts already were straining far -
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And a child aglow as a morning sun -
Toward home and children and chores undone.
Norma Farber (1909-1984) – from “When It Snowed That Night”
Michael Wolgemut (or Wohlgemuth) (1434–1519)
Thanks to Concord Pastor for showing me this great poem. Now it is 7 January, the day after Epiphany, it seemed a good day to post it!
… and why not wise women? This article from CNN from 10 February 2004 makes interesting reading, … whether or not you agree is another thing! Here is part of the piece:
“A committee revising the latest (Church of England) prayer book said the term “Magi” was a transliteration of the name used by officials at the Persian court, and that they could well have been women. Magi is a word which discloses nothing about numbers, wisdom or gender embodied in the term,” a Synod spokesman said on Tuesday after the revision was agreed by the Church of England’s parliament which meets twice a year. In the authorized 17th century King James bible used by up to 70 million worshippers in Anglican churches around the world, the gift-bearing visitors are referred to as “The Three Wise Men.” Now they are to be called just “Magi” and no longer gender-specific in the Anglican prayer book. “Changing ‘Wise Men’ to ‘Magi’ seems to be an entirely sensible move,” the Synod spokesman said. The revision committee said: “While it seems very unlikely that these Persian court officials were female, the possibility that one or more of the Magi were female cannot be excluded completely.” There is no theological dispute about the gifts they brought – gold, frankincense and myrrh – but the prayer has been changed to use the word Magi on the grounds that “the visitors were not necessarily wise and not necessarily men.”