Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Eureka, I think
Soon we will sing We Three Kings. The lyrics of the hymn are well known, but TS Eliot's poem, Journey of the Magi, is not wooden. The Magus who narrates the poem is alone and his epiphany was "Eureka, I think!" It wasn't easy and it wasn't sure and there was doubt. The epiphany both was, and wasn't, a long time coming. The poem stirs the soul because it reflects a thoroughly human person. Who provided the greater gift? Whose is the greater gift? That's easy! The Babe. The narrator of the poem has the gift of distance and time to arrive at the discovery of the paradox that out of death can come life. Someone said to me , "I don't understand what you mean by that last sentence. It doesn't make sense!" "Well" I said, "Read the poem! I'm not going to tell you what I think it means. It's not my job. You're not a stupid man so you will have your own ideas and they are as good as mine, though you'll never be as poetic as Eliot! And you'll never have to ride a thousand miles on a camel in the winter to find out either!"