Christmas Star

In a cold time, in a place accustomed more
To scorching heat than cold, to the flatness of plain,
Than hills: A child was born in a cave to save the world.
And it stormed, as only winter desert storms can.

Everything seemed huge to him: his mother’s breast,
The yellow steam of the camels’ breath. And from afar,
Their gifts carried here, the Magi, Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar.
He was all of him just a dot. And that dot was a star.

Attentively and fixedly, through the sparse clouds,
On the recumbent child in the manger, through the night’s haze,
From the depths of the universe, from its end and bound,
A star watched over the cave. And that was the Father’s gaze.

by Joseph Brodsky
Tr. L. Shmailo