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 silks 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

fearful of 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 clothes, the candles
gutter, and rise.
A Glass of Pure Water
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