Inspired by the text of Norma Farber’s poem (which follows), I asked my kids tonite how the Christmas story might be a bit different if there were three queens that visited Jesus rather than three Kings. CatGirl replied that the queens would’ve been more practical than the Kings, and would’ve given gifts that the baby could really use–like a cradle. I liked my daughter’s reply. I also really liked the thoughts in Farber’s poem, and while I’m a little sad that the Queens were late and had to leave early, there’s something in their practicality that’s more endearing than that of the Wise Men.
The Queens Came Late
The Queens came late, but the Queens were there
With gifts in their hands, and crowns in their hair.
They’d come, these three, like the Kings, from far,
Following, yes, that guiding star.
They’d left their ladles, linens, looms.
Their children playing in nursery rooms,
And told their sitters: “Take charge! For this
Is a marvelous sight we must not miss!”
The Queens came late, but not too late
To see the animals small and great,
Feathered and furred, domestic and wild,
Gathered to gaze at a mother and child.
And rather than frankincense and myrrh
And gold for the babe, they brought for her
Who held him, a homespun gown of blue,
And chicken soup with noodles too,
And a lingering, lasting cradle song
The Queens came late, and stayed not long,
For their thoughts already were straying far
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And child aglow as a morning sun
Toward home, and children, and chores undone.
By Norma Farber
[Note: I encountered this poem as it was sung at a lovely concert today by the Orange County Women’s Chorus. Bravo to the OCWC for another stellar performance and for inspiring such thoughtfulness about the holiday season!]
i would suggest that it’s worthwhile investigating the symbolism and spiritual meanings of the wise men’s three gifts rather than simply dismissing them as impractical luxuries. together they represent christ’s spiritual mission–healing, sacrifice, and redemption. and although i love the idea of queens visiting, too, i’m always a little troubled when women are represented only in terms of their role within the family and the home.
it is a lovely idea, though–women coming to greet their savior at his birth.
i’ve never read this poem before, and i like it! it made me think some about martha and mary (in luke 10). it made me happy that the queens thought it important enough to visit the baby in the manger that they could leave their homemaking and child-rearing responsibilities to do it – but it also made me sad that they couldn’t stay long because those things so quickly called them away, as they so often do me.
i’d like to know more, amelia, about the symbolism of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. that’s a new idea to me.