Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 15

A poem for Christmas
From Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky
(translated from Russian by Seamus Heaney).

Imagine striking a match that night in the cave:
use the cracks in the floor to feel the cold.
Use crockery in order to feel the hunger.
And to feel the desert - but the desert is everywhere.
Imagine striking a match in that midnight cave,
the fire, the farm beasts in outline, the farm tools and stuff;
and imagine, as you towel your face in the towel's folds,
the bundled up Infant. And Mary and Joseph.
Imagine the kings, the caravans' stilted procession
as they make for the cave, or rather three beams closing in
and in on the star; the creaking of loads, the clink of a cowbell;
(but in the cerulean thickening over the Infant
no bell and no echo of bell: He hasn't earned it yet.)
Imagine the Lord, for the first time, from darkness, and stranded
immensely in distance, recognising Himself in the Son,
of Man: homeless, going out to Himself in a homeless one.

4 comments:

Over-Caffeinated x 4 said...

Oooh, I love the imagery of God seeing Himself there homeless. I will share this with my little Russians! :)

kboden said...

The great poet, Rich Mullins, once wrote, "The hope of the whole world rests on the shoulders of a homeless man."

Charlie Lowell said...

Thanks for that Rich Mullins quote, i've not heard that. Beautiful, poetic, and true!

irden juca said...

I must confess this one was a little complicate for me to finally make it out, but then it is just amazing imaging God looking down from Heaven to the Infant Jesus, in that night, a baby with no decent home, craddle, He who lived in golden palaces.
Great language in this one. Hugs brother.