Looking for a kingdom

Split light burns back
from the buildings below the headland,
the sea silent and shimmering after the storms

On the street of the snake
the houses are empty
and the stones are treacherous
but there is a ship waiting below the abbey:
it carries gold, frankincense and
myrrh, and a degree of wisdom

I leap on board: the captain
steers by the stars, remembering old stories,
and we look for a kingdom
so strange and so fragile
that only a new-born baby
can open its gates

The voyage will be long –
thousands of years maybe –
and the kingdom will become harder to find
fading into the background
and off the map

I brace myself for the return of the storms
and the flickering snow:
in the darkness the gold
will go missing