Three Gipsies

Three Gipsies

The Adoration of the Kings (Monforte Altar) by Hugo van der Goes (circa 1440-1482)
The Adoration of the Kings (Monforte Altar) by Hugo van der Goes (circa 1440-1482)

Another poem for Epiphany via Sally Thomas:

by Charles Causley

Three gipsies stood at my drifted door,
One was rich and one was poor
And one had the face of a blackamoor.

Out of the dark and the moor they came,
One was leaping and two were lame,
And each one called out to me my name.

“Is there a baby that wants within
A penny of brass and a crown of tin
And a fire of spice for original sin?

“Hold him high at the window wide
That we may beg for him a Bride
From the circling star that swings outside.”

“Rise up, rise up, you gipsies three.
Your baskets of willow and rush I see
And the third that is made of the Judas tree.

“No boy is born in my bed this day
Where the icicle fires her freezing ray,
For my love has risen and run away.

“So fare you well, Egyptians three,
Who bow and bring to me the key
From the cells of sin to set us free.”

Out of the million-angeled sky
As gold as the hairs of my head and thigh
I heard a new-born baby cry.

“Come back, come back, you gipsies three
And put your packs by my Christmas tree
For it is my son’s nativity!”

Over the marble meadow and plain
The gipsies rode by the river’s skein
And never more did they come again.

I set a star in the window tall,
The bread and wine in my waiting hall
And a heap of hay in the mangers all,

But the gipsies three with their gifts were gone,
And where the host of heaven had shone
The lunatic moon burned on, burned on.

from Collected Poems 1951-2000
Picador 2000

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