Рождественская звезда (Star of the Nativity) by Joseph Brodsky

In the cold season, in a locality accustomed to heat more than
to cold, to horizontality more than to a mountain,
a child was born in a cave in order to save the world;
it blew as only in deserts in winter it blows, athwart.

To Him, all things seemed enormous: His mother’s breast, the steam
out of the ox’s nostrils, Caspar, Balthazar, Melchior – the team
of Magi, their presents heaped by the door, ajar.
He was but a dot, and a dot was the star.

Keenly, without blinking, through pallid, stray
clouds, upon the child in the manger, from far away –
from the depth of the universe, from its opposite end – the star
was looking into the cave. And that was the Father’s stare.

By Иосиф Александрович Бродский
(Joseph Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky a.k.a. Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky)
(December 1987)
translated by the author, Brodsky, himself

Brodsky reciting his poem

Рождественская звезда

В холодную пору, в местности, привычной скорей к жаре,
чем к холоду, к плоской поверхности более, чем к горе,
младенец родился в пещере, чтоб мир спасти:
мело, как только в пустыне может зимой мести.

Ему все казалось огромным: грудь матери, желтый пар
из воловьих ноздрей, волхвы — Балтазар, Гаспар,
Мельхиор; их подарки, втащенные сюда.
Он был всего лишь точкой. И точкой была звезда.

Внимательно, не мигая, сквозь редкие облака,
на лежащего в яслях ребенка издалека,
из глубины Вселенной, с другого ее конца,
звезда смотрела в пещеру. И это был взгляд Отца.

The poem recited by the actor Anton Shagin
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‘Top left an angel’ by R.S. Thomas

 Top left an angel
hovering. Top right the attendance
of a star. From both
bottom corners devils
look up, relishing
in prospect a divine
meal. How old at the centre
the child's face gazing
into love's too human
face, like one prepared
for it to have its way
and continue smiling?



By R. S. Thomas
from Counterpoint 2. Incarnation (1990)

Nativity by R. S. Thomas

The moon is born

and a child is born,

lying among white clothes

as the moon among clouds


They both shine, but

the light from the one

is abroad in the universe

as among broken glass.


by R. S. Thomas

from Experimenting with an Amen (1986)