I would not deign to speak for that triumvirate of worthies
Whom I had hoped to accompany, but, for myself,
My journey was of a practical, political nature;
There was any number of shared concerns
Which I hoped to discuss with my fellow sovereigns:
Matters of borders and bandits, tariffs and treaties,
And even if my fellow sovereigns were sincere
In their interpretation of (I would attest, anyway)
This wholly random celestial event, they are still very much
Men of the world, and on such a lengthy and tedious sojourn
It would only be natural that the discussion would turn
To those duties which only the eminent and elevated can appreciate
And in due course perhaps become the basis
For some understanding and accommodation.
Giving them the benefit of doubt (for if a ruler
Is not entitled to that, who is), it is not surprising
That my erstwhile fellow travelers were taken
By the notion of infant kings and augury from the skies;
When you are insulated from the concerns of finding food and shelter,
My very own father told me in my youth,
You’ll find something foolish to worry yourself about.
Having subdued their swath of earth, it is only natural
That they would cast their worries toward the skies,
And who among us has not seen darkness at mid-day
Or huge and inexplicably reddened moons?
I could not blame my fellow potentates for attempting
To divine some meaning from such events,
Nor am I astonished that they would find some would-be seer
(And it seems the more vulgar, unkempt and ill-smelling the better)
Who would be all too grateful
To lighten both their anxieties and their royal purses.
Had I been able to accompany that group of potentates
For the entire trek, I would have noted
(Though gently, with the most innocuous of smiles)
That I believe the secret to ascertaining the absolutes of the universe,
The eternal verities, is accepting the very lack of their existence.
I have cultivated and consolidated my power
Via the noble arts of compromise and conciliation,
Knowing when and how to give just enough to gratify
(And, if need be, just enough rope For fools to hang themselves with)
While retaining resources sufficient enough
To slap down those who are insufficient in their gratitude.
Sadly, even these arts are not without their limitations;
Indeed, my journey was cut short when a proconsul
(One of my wife’s kinsmen, that being his only conceivable qualification
For such a position) so spectacularly bollixed
What should have been a perfectly simple matter of taxation and tithing
That it required my return to handle the matter in person.
No matter, then; those affairs I had hope to discuss
Will still remain when they have come home
From this particular dalliance with stargazing and saviors
(Ah, such fancies–all hail this sultan of the stables, this high priest of the hay!)
And there are day-to-day concerns aplenty to occupy my days
Until such time they come to the realization
That faith is the luxury of the poor.