The Adoration of the Magi from the east face, Muirdeach's High Cross, Monasterboice, Co. Louth.
A Calendar of Kings
They endured a season
Of ice and silver swans.
Delicately the horses
Grazed among the snowdrops.
They traded for fish, wind
Fell upon crested waters.
Along their track
Daffodils lit a thousand tapers.
They slept among dews.
A dawn lark broke their dream.
For them, at solstice
The chalice of the sun spilled over.
The star was lost.
They rode between burnished hills.
A fiddle at a fair
Compelled the feet of harvesters.
A glim on their darkling road.
The star! It was their star.
In a sea village
Children brought apples to the horses.
They lit fires
By the carved stones of the dead.
A midwinter inn.
Here they unload their treasures.
George Mackay Brown
from 'Following a Lark' 1996 and 'The Collected Poems' 2005.
See twelve textile pieces created by students of accomplished textile artist and teacher Pat Archibald, using this poem as inspiration on this page.
The poem is also included on the CD Wolcum Yule: Celtic and British Songs and Carols by the vocal group Anonymous 4. The poem’s musical setting was composed by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.