Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Coming Of The Magi


We barely remembered the former times
For our times had ceased to run,
Were wiped as clean as our memories
In the land of the hidden sun,
For a darkness came on the barley fields
And it changed the lie of the land,
For when we rose in the morning, there
Was nothing but sea and sand.

All our cities were washed away
And all of our knowledge too,
Whole populations had disappeared
And left us with just a few,
We’d lived high up on the mountainside
When the sea had reared to flood,
But when the water receded there
Was nothing but sand and mud.

A man had wandered into the town
In the month before the last,
He said, ‘You people better gird up
For the future, not the past,
For the stars line up in a curious way
That will see the earth undone,
And what is normal will slip away
To the place where dreams come from.’

He wore a turban, yellow and green
And a beard right down to his waist,
A line of stars on both of his arms
And a half-moon, neatly traced.
‘The earth is trying to shake you off
Like the virus you’ve become,
To grow anew from the bedlam that
Your lives and your works have won.’

He said he was called ‘The Magi’, and
Came once in a thousand years,
But most of the people jeered at him,
‘You’ll not fool us with your curse! ’
A week went by and a storm blew up
And the people began to doubt,
Trying to hide their fear inside
As the moon and the stars went out.

Nothing was left down on the plain
Not a stone lay on a stone,
Nothing that you could recognise
On earth, from our former home,
The Magi sat and he watched us grieve
For the things that we had lost,
And said, ‘You never could quite believe
That you have to count the cost.’

We ploughed the fields with our oxen
And we ground our wheat on a stone,
The Magi seemed to approve of it
So he left us to stand alone,
But the people pined for their history
For the life that had gone before,
‘I’ll let you into the mystery, ’
He said, ‘if you’re really sure! ’

So now we meet in the village hall
That we built from scattered stone,
And he tells us tales in a darkened room
Of the wonders that have flown,
Each night, the characters flicker
Like a light playing on a screen,
Firing imaginations of
A world that is now a dream.

He reels off tales about magic, how
The stars had reflected light,
Before, when the clouds had parted
Not like now, as they block sunlight,
He says there once was a moon that crashed
Into a distant star,
And slowly we are remembering
The who and the what we are.

But one in seven of babies born
Is perishing in the cold,
We’re slowing the population now
Not like in the days of old,
The earth is blossoming green again
Though you’d think it rather odd,
That people mutter between themselves
Of a deity, called ‘God! ’

Submitted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

9 June 2013

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