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Paul du Plessis

Rookie (3 July 1941 / Paarl, South Africa)

Journey from Babylon


Ziggurat star-gazers descend
Stepping down tiered balconies
Leaving Babylon’s babble
Scattered in a thousand tongues
Of understanding lost forever
In the tower that searched the heavens.

Flummoxed by another mystery
Script on Belshazzar’s wall
Unintelligibly back to front
Moving with the immovable sun
Down the processional way
Of lions facing the dawn.

Taking the exiles’ track
Following a milky way
While avoiding a silk route
Getting straight to the point
Without sextant or compass
Just longing to find the truth.

Bearers of an open secret
Searchers for fuller meaning
In a dozen signs condensed
From a thousand stars in convergence
Focused on the babe of Bethlehem
As the king of heaven descends.

Angels that gave lions lockjaw
Stir animal voices
To the baying and bleating of adoration
That is language without words
Welcoming new arrivals
With nature’s hymn of praise.

February 2009

After visiting the British Museum exhibition: Babylon.

Since the city was destroyed in the second century BC, the journey of the Magi from Babylon occurs only in the writer’s imagination.

Submitted: Sunday, September 13, 2009
Edited: Sunday, September 13, 2009
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