The Queens Came Late

We all know about the three wise men/kings but their queens are so often forgotten or neglected.

Do you know the poem “The Queens Came Late” by Norma Farber?  My elder sister introduced it to me several years ago and it quickly became a firm favourite in our house.

“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 straining far-
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And a child aglow as a morning sun-
Toward home and children and chores undone.”
From the Night It Snowed by Norma Farber
1909-1984 , children’s book author and poet.

Without wanting to step on anybody’s beliefs I have to say that I wonder what use gold, frankincense and myrrh would be to a poor carpenter and his wife who had just given birth.  But a homespun gown of blue, chicken noodle soup and a song for the babe would surely have been more use to them at that time and in that place.

What are your thoughts on this?


20 responses to “The Queens Came Late

  1. Thanks, it’s a lovely poem … and a lovely idea. 🙂

  2. I love this. The whole time I was reading it, inside I was smiling and saying “yes”.

  3. From what I’ve read, women were not equals in biblical times, so it is fun to think of them bringing useful gifts for Jesus’ birth.

    As for the expensive gifts, I suppose they could have used them in bartering for goods and services on their travels. Of course, it’s just a guess because I wasn’t there 🙂

    • In many parts of the world women are still not equals. I love this poem and the idea that the useful gifts were brought by the women. I am sure that the expensive things could be bartered and am sorry that you weren’t there to confirm this. 🙂

  4. Hi Judith
    The gifts were probably symbolic – gold for kingship, frankinsense for worship / divinity / priesthood and myrhh for healing / power / embalming the dead – basically an overall depiction of the meaning of the Christ-child.

  5. A poem full of warmth and love. The 3 queens are wise indeed. Their gifts were all coming from a nurturing mind and heart of a loving mother. Happy Holidays my friend. May love , joy and peace be with you and your family.

    • Thank you my friend. I love the idea behind this poem. The queens brought gifts that were readily usable by the mother and her child.
      Your Christmas blessings are reciprocated. I love reading your posts even if occasionally I am a day or so late in doing so.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Judith…I wasn’t familiar with it. I love it too!


    • I quickly became a firm favourite with me. When my sister first sent it to me I thought how much it said about the difference in outlook between the men and those practical women.

  7. What a beautiful poem. The Holy Family would surely have loved their gifts that were so practical.

  8. I’ve not heard this poem, either, Judith. As always, thanks for sharing from your vast trove of knowledge!

  9. Ha, what a great poem, and it just makes me smile that yes, the queens would probably have brought useful stuff rather than symbolic stuff! 😉 x

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