Saturday, December 31, 2011

entrata festiva

Harvey S. Mozolak

the talking around the well
quickly dried and ceased
as the bells of the camels
turned the heads of the women
filling water jars
a smith’s hammer halted in midair
when they slowly paced by
their brightly colored robes
turbans and beards cut in a pattern
not known to Hebrews
and the clean chin of the Roman
bringing questions to widen neighbor’s eyes
as they stopped at the house
the carpenter outside
ceased his sawing
and let the long board drop
to the ground
as he hurried inside to where his wife
sat rocking the child
on a stool near the fire
they entered shouting a warm word
of greeting in some foreign tongue
followed by a slurred shalom
when they filled the small room
in wide brocade capes and gold tasseled cloaks
the smell of eastern incense
cinctured around them
there their low prostration created a royal carpet
before the small child
with a murmuring no doubt a whispered prayer
from leather bags they presented
gold lumps
incense clumps
and spice ground from fragrant tree stumps
these for a king
a priest and a sacrifice bleeding
the child lifted from his mother’s lap
became a gift in their arms
his weakness a strength to them
his serious eyes caused laughter
puzzlement and sage attention
as they listened to Joseph and Mary
tell of fearful angels
wild promises
solemn decrees
the visit of shepherds
and the long journey
from heaven and womb
to the good of the God in this room
after a dinner offered and shared
salted fish and bread
that seemed more than was simply prepared
the magi left
this time hardly noticed by the villagers
in the dimness of evening
traveling far to the west
where the sun leads by leaving
carrying the news of the blessing
and worth of this birth

living water

Harvey S. Mozolak

it is little known
perhaps not at all
except here revealed
that while the magi
brought gifts of three
large nuggets of gold
nodules from a frankincense tree
and myrrh’s resin made into aromatic salve
all three also brought flasks of water
that never emptied
all their journey long
through deserts and mountains
they never stopped at streams
or wells nor dipped in rivers
but always when they lifted
the leather bags to their lips
sweet moisture filled their mouths
dripped down and wet their beards
and for their beasts the same
at first they marveled
then it became expected
thus to drink and thus be filled
until they arrived at Jerusalem
and there they found their vessels empty
and their tongues always parched
no matter what they drank
a Roman ale again a Jewish wine
some pomegranate juice of Palestine
thirst and longing became a search
a panting path
until they entered under the last cascading
light of their traveling star
the baby when they entered
Joseph’s humble house was sitting in a bath
a dirty bath laughing
the light from his eyes bathed them
as their tears streamed down
to water the upturned lips of tired travelers  
of all things God toasting them
with his Son now a blood-relative
he the full flagon of divine promise
to be carried home
by the different route of God