The Visitors

There are bitter herbs 
in the casket and 
they smell of death.

The gold gleams fitfully
in the candlelight,
a promise of worldly things

ungiven.  The incense 
smokes lightly and 
fragrances the air.

The animals are quiet and 
stir not, the hay 
footed and silent.

The three visitors are 
kneeling in the dust, their 
costly robes gleaming

in the candlelight.  And the 
baby stirs, throws his 
legs, punches the air

and smiles up at his 
mother's worried face. 
She stares down at his

perfect skin, and, shivering, 
draws her blue robe 
tightly round her

fearfulof the premonition. 
Her husband's grip on her 
shoulder tightens

and they draw together 
apprehensively as a 
gust from beneath

the wooden door
stirs their robes, the candles
gutter, and rise.
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