Fool’s gold

Appearing nothing like the noble kings
that stepped confidently in gold leaf
from countless medieval paintings,
the ones we call wise
looked like a group of merchant traders
who had trod the road many months.
Dusty but unwearied, they chased
their star-obsession west,
all the way to Palestine.
The palace had probably been a mistake,
but they agreed  that the Bethlehem lead
looked promising.
They laughed along with the strangers
with whom they shared their story.
“The rainbow’s golden pot
might prove less elusive,”
a wit had joked, some months into their travels.
True, they might never find the prince
at the silver star-journey’s end.
They were troupe of clowns,
persisting in futility,
knowing and willing,
recklessly complicit
in each other’s foolishness;
having long concurred
that it was better to pursue with hope
a heavenly folly,
than to live with caution and fear.
And should they find the child,
why, then they would laugh and worship,
and the whole journey
would be as the gold
they carried.

© Ken Rookes


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