It is snowing, the entire world becomes a minority.
      This time of the year — high season for spies,
       you catch up with yourself under any guise,
      betrayed by the lack of respect for authority.
       A betrayal like this doesn't carry a prize;
             all around you a hush is afloat.
 How much light there is, crammed in the shard of a star,
           in the night! like exiles in a boat.
    Don't go blind, look! You yourself are an orphan,
           a black sheep, a pariah, an outlaw.
       To your name not a penny. Out of your maw —
         frozen breath in the shape of a dragon.
       Better pray out loud, like a new Nazarene,
            for the bearers of gifts in both
       halves of the earth, self-proclaimed kings,
           and for every child in a cradle.

                                   Joseph Brodsky, 1986
                                   [original here]

translated by Shimon Edelman <>


Last modified: Sun Dec 31 2017 at 15:21:57 EST