Рождество Христово – Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский


Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский


Рождество 1963:  1



Спаситель родился

в лютую стужу.

В пустыне пылали пастушьи костры.

Буран бушевал и выматывал душу

из бедных царей, доставлявших дары.

Верблюды вздымали лохматые ноги.

Выл ветер.

Звезда, пламенея в ночи,

смотрела, как трех караванов дороги

сходились в пещеру Христа, как лучи.





Christmas 1963:  1



The saviour was born

into fierce, brutish cold.

Shepherds’ small campfires blazed in the wasteland.

A blizzard seethed and battered the souls

of the humble kings who bore gifts for the infant.

The camels lifted their shaggy legs in sequence.

The wind howled.

The star, aflame in the night,

looked on as the paths of the three processions

converged on Christ’s cave like beams of light.





Рождество 1963:  2



Волхвы пришли. Младенец крепко спал.
Звезда светила ярко с небосвода.
Холодный ветер снег в сугроб сгребал.
Шуршал песок. Костер трещал у входа.
Дым шел свечой. Огонь вился крючком.
И тени становились то короче,
то вдруг длинней. Никто не знал кругом,
что жизни счет начнется с этой ночи.
Волхвы пришли. Младенец крепко спал.
Крутые своды ясли окружали.
Кружился снег. Клубился белый пар.
Лежал младенец, и дары лежали.





Christmas 1963:  2



The magi had come. The infant soundly slept.
The star shone brightly from the vaulted sky.
A cold wind swept the snow up into drifts.
The sand rustled. A bonfire crackled nearby.
Smoke plumed skyward. Flames hooked and writhed.
The shadows cast by the fire grew now shorter,
now suddenly longer. No one there yet realized
that on that very night life’s count had started.
The magi had come. The infant soundly slept.
Steep arches loomed above the manger.
Snow swirled about. White steam rose in wisps.
With gifts piled near him, the child slept like an angel.




Joseph Brodsky / Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский

(1940-1996) was born of Jewish parents

in Leningrad.  He began to write poetry in his mid-teens

and taught himself English so that he could translate John

Donne into Russian.  In 1960 he met the 70-year-old

Anna Akhmatova, who had written the great epic poem

“Requiem” about Stalin’s Terror in the 1930s.

Her encouragement brought out in the young Brodsky

a flow of ideas and creativity – such that by 1963 he was

being denounced as a social parasite and anti-Soviet.

Arrested, put on trial, he spent 18 months at a labour camp

in the Arctic.

He kept on with his poetry after his release but

harassment became routine.  In 1972, after persecution by

authorities who sought to have him declared schizophrenic and,

therefore, “useless to society”, he was put on a plane out of the

USSR and, with the help of foreign poets who valued his work,

he settled in the USA.


The Nativity – and the many themes of Life it touches upon –

was a constant topic in Brodsky’s poetry.   He wrote

one or more Nativity poems per year between 1961 and



We are grateful to Jamie Olson

for his translation from the Russian.

Visit his site:  http://www.theflaxenwave.com