They endured a season
Of ice and silver swans.
Delicately the horses
Grazed among snowdrops.
They traded for fish, wind
Fell upon crested waters.
Along their track
Daffodils lit a thousand tapers.
They slept among dews.
A dawn lark broke their dream.
For them, at solstice
The chalice of the sun spilled over.
Their star was lost.
They rode between burnished hills.
A fiddle at a fair
Compelled the feet of harvesters.
A glim on their darkling road.
The star! It was their star.
In a sea village
Children brought apples to the horses.
They lit fires
By the carved stones of the dead.
A midwinter inn.
Here they unload the treasures.
A Calendar of Kings, George MacKay Brown, (1921-1996)
From the imagery, with ice, snowdrops, and daffodils, it’s clear that the journey lasts a full season, and that the poet has transplanted the setting from the Middle East to his native homeland in the Orkney islands of Scotland, effectively personalizing the Nativity of Christ in a vivid and memorable way.