1 JANUARY 1965
The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.
What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.
You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It’s clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it’s too late for miracles.
—But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven’s light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.
From Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky, translated by George L. Kline
3 thoughts on “Lifting your eyes, you realize.”
Oh my. Such despair and desolation and then – the realization of LIFE as a gift. Happy New Year!
I too despaired as I read these words – surely not! If we have learned something from this pandemic it is that life is a gift. Wise words point us towards treasuring what we have and making the most of our opportunities. You provide us all with a good role model.
That’s a good poem both for the end of a difficult year and maybe a hopeful beginning of another, better one.