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The John Edward Johnson Prize

Michael Hugh Lythgoe

Adoration of the Magi: List

Adoration of the Magi

                  on an oil painting by Domenico Marone, 1484,

                   in the Columbia Museum of Art

We know these biblical travelers.
All pilgrims & refugees must travel,
Or flee from tyrants. The faithful
Travel for their faith; these followed
A star in the East.

Not Palestine; no humble Bethlehem.
This scene is more Verona, a Roman
Town of worn stone architecture
Fourteen hundred years later,
Italian, African—opulent ruins.

The Magi arrive with an entourage
Richly appointed, exotic, Persian,
Dressed for court & castle—
A Renaissance scene. They come
With gifts, to adore the Christ Child.

See the medieval parade of red & white
Pigments, peacocks, horsemen & cherubs;
No camels. Islamic warriors with scimitar
Swords, curved bows & arrows—guardians
For Three Kings. A shepherd boy—Pan—

Holds pipes—rustic music, mythic, pagan.
Soldiers in shadows of dangerous times:
Travelers wary of enemies lying in ambush
Along the Silk Road saddle up under a star
Marking a birth, foretelling a death.

Adoration of the Magi: Text
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