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Friday, January 7, 2011

The Fourth Wise Man

(Travels of the Three Kings by Salvador Dali, 1904-1989,
Spanish Surrealist painter)

“Three Kings came riding from far away, / Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The fourth wise man
disliked travel. If
you walk, there’s the
gravel. If you ride,
there’s the camel’s attitude.
He far preferred
to be inside in solitude
to contemplate the star
that had been getting
so much larger
and more prolate* lately —
stretching vertically
(like the souls of martyrs)
toward the poles
(or like the yawns of babies).

~ Kay Ryan, born 1945, American poet

* prolate - in geometry: having a polar diameter which is longer than the equatorial diameter

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