An Unexpected Journey

Robert Fitzgerald's poem for Epiphany, which appeared in The New Yorker in January 1967, seems to place the biblical tale of the Magi in a realm Tolkein might have recognised. When Fitzgerald wrote his poem, The Fellowship of the Ring was in its 15th impression, and Rembrandt Films had just produced an animated adaptation of The Hobbit (whose liberties border on the Jacksonian). Middle-earth evoked as much fantastic longing in that turbulent time as it seems to do in ours. Fitzgerald's little poem suggests such longing, and its satisfaction, is never far from any one of us. 

Immortal brilliance of presage
In any dark day’s iron age
May come to lift the hair and bless
Even our tired earthliness
And sundown bring an age of gold,
Forged in faerie, far and old,
An elsewhere and an elfin light,
And kings rise eastward in the night.