Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Nativity Poem by Valentin Berestov

Valentin Berestov (undated photograph) / Image courtesy of Pskov's Centralized Library System

[NOTE: As I have done in previous years, I'm posting a nativity poem for the Christmas season. Enjoy!]

*     *     *

by Valentin Berestov

Every year, when Christ is born,
beauty comes into the world.        

January icicles
flood with light.      
January ice-crust  
holds your weight.

January snow grants you speed.
It glitters and blushes at noon,  
it gleams in the half-light of the moon.
And every January day
outstretches its own yesterday.
And each night feels just the time  
for feasting, revelry, and wine.


Translated from the Russian by Jamie Olson


Translator’s note: Russian Orthodox Christians, who follow the Julian calendar for all church holidays, celebrate Christmas on January 7, not December 25.

*     *     *

В. Д. Берестов

В день рождения Христа
В мир приходит красота.

Январский лёд
Сиянье льёт.
Январский наст
Пропасть не даст.

Январский снег даёт разбег.
Днём искромётный и цветной,
И так сияет под луной!..
И каждый из январских дней
Чуть-чуть, но прежнего длинней.
И так пригоден для пиров
И встреч любой из вечеров.



  1. Thank you, Jamie! I hope you had a very nice Christmas and wish you a happy, healthy 2017. See you in Minneapolis!