Friday, December 25, 2020

Brodsky's "Flight": A Nativity Poem

Giotto di Bondone, "The Flight into Egypt" / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Flight into Egypt

   by Joseph Brodsky

   …nobody knew where the herdsman had come from.

Out there in a desert chosen by the sky for

the miracle, they stopped for the night and kindled

a campfire, echoing the star. Without sensing

the role he would play, in a snow-laden shelter

the child lay asleep amid a golden halo

of hair, which had already taken on the habit

of radiance—not just for this dark-haired empire

at this moment, but, truly akin to the star, for 

as long as the earth exists: everywhere.

December 25, 1988

Translated from the Russian by Jamie Olson