‘The Light’ by Charles Arthur Holme

‘The Light’

by Charles Arthur Holme

“And so we stopped, within a hamlet small,
At early evening when doors are closed,
When families rest and talk about the day,
When wives sing songs and carpenters make toys,
Near one small house lit by mysterious light
That came from one bright star.

‘How did it start?’ asked Karim as he snuggled in my cloak
The fire was low. I placed more dung, and said:

I met the Learned Ones quite late in autumn
When mountain snows creep down each day
Towards the farm. A time to rest and to repair.
A time for stories and for keeping warm.
They wanted me to take them to a distant land
By following a star. And taking treasure.
I ask you? Yet they were courteous men,
Polite and serious, with rich men’s slaves.
Like Scholars you will see in Takht-e–Rostam.

At that time money mattered much to me.
And so I took the job as their gold flowed free.

Outside the little house, The Learned Ones
Took off their riding cloaks of black
And, in a fine array of glorious clothes,
Enriched with silver, gold and precious stones,
Approached the simple door and gently knocked.
I thought, ‘Is this what we have suffered for,
For months of mountain cold and desert storm?

Still wondering, still mystified, still unconvinced
I led the camels further into open grazing space
And saw them tethered and the men begin
To settle for the night. They talked and cursed
About the things they’d seen that day.
Heru Shalem, a city rife with fear.
Of waiting in the open square beneath
The spears of Palace guards, with cautious eyes
Like camels when the mountain tiger stalks nearby,
With hands on swords and wary words. All day.
Until the Learned Ones appeared and left in haste
As evening settled on the road ahead.

Only to come here! A place no bigger
Than our farm near Quasabeh-e-Karaj.
But I’d grown curious about the Learned Ones.

Returning to the house, a golden light
Flowed from the open door. As butterflies
In forests seek out sunlight glades,
So I was drawn, and went to look inside.

I paused my tale. My grandchild and my memories
Are my main pleasures now. ‘What did you see,
And what about the hoards of treasure that you took?’

The picture in my mind still baffles me.
A village lass with glowing skin. Her man
Had put aside his task. A toddler
Held his mother’s hand, his eyes a welcome,
As if he knew the Learned Ones would come.

The gold and treasures lay across the floor.
The Learned Ones were knelt before the child.
And I too a tug of welcome felt.
But pulled away, for at that moment
All my shady deals and money making
Held me back. Yet I was drawn to look again.

The Learned Ones in turn held up the child
Who touched their face. And all was hope and joy.
The child then turned and looked into my eyes.
I crumbled to my knees outside that house.
I can’t believe it, even now. He knew me.
All I was, my faults, my cares, my … everything.
For I was looking at a King. A God.
In that strange place, in that dark street,
On that cold night, in that child’s look,
Upon my knees my soul found peace.
I thought about my family far away.
And at that moment knew I would return
To them a different man.

Before first light we left and headed for the dawn.
The Learned One who spoke our tongue said,
‘I think now thou knowest why we had to come’.

‘Grandfather’ said Karim, ‘You cry. Shall I get help?’
He rose, but saw my smile and settled back.
‘What happened to the child, the God, the King?’
I lied, and said, I didn’t know. His mother called.
And off he went to dream of journeys he would make.

I heard soon after we departed, soldiers came
And all the children in that place were killed.
But surely not. It was a peaceful place.
Another mystery I ponder as the fire grows dim.

Then, as snow in winter near Quasabeh–e-Karaj
Descends from mountain heights and turns the fields
To white, sleep gently settled silently upon me.”

A poem by Surrey resident and member of Headley Poetry Group, Charles Arthur Holme.


Submit your favourite #light poem : tell us the title and poet, the first line of the poem or submit your own poem to be published on the blog in the month of October 2015.

Do you find your poem #light rather than heavy? Does it have a #light comedic feel? Are you celebrating the remaining #light of the year before the clocks go back?

NB: Any self written poems will be credited to you unless you specify otherwise. We cannot guarantee which poems will be included but will try to include as many as possible.

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