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Monday, January 9, 2012


I just barely finish him in time, given that today is the last day of Christmas (the Baptism of the Lord). (Actually, I thought yesterday was, given that it was the Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, and I was really bummed that I hadn't finished by bedtime, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn I was wrong.)

I'm not doing another project like this for a while. As much as I love a lot of the cross-stitch designs out there, I find cross stitches kind of tedious. The bead embellishments on these kits are even worse -- not the size 11 beads, which are attached with a half-stitch and work up quite fast, but the size 15 beads, which are attached with a cross stitch. Which means going through the bead twice, which is very fiddly and takes quite a bit longer than a regular cross stitch. These designs had a lot of size 15s, so I'm glad to be done.

"Journey of the Magi" by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
The the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our palaces, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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