The kings will lose your old address.
No star will flare up to impress.
The ear may yield, under duress,
to blizzards’ nagging roar.
The shadows falling off your back,
you’d snuff the candle, hit the sack,
for calendars more nights can pack
than there are candles for.
What is this? Sadness? Yes, perhaps.
A little tune that never stops.
One knows by heart its downs and ups.
May it be played on par
with things to come, with one’s eclipse,
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for what occasionally keeps
them trained on something far.
And staring up where no cloud drifts
because your sock’s devoid of gifts
you’ll understand this thrift: it fits
your age; it’s not a slight.
It is too late for some breakthrough,
for miracles, for Santa’s crew.
And suddenly you’ll realize that you
yourself are a gift outright.
(Translated from Russian by the poet)
Note: A Russian poet and essayist, Brodsky was born in Leningrad. He wrote January 1, 1965 during a period of internal exile in Northern Russia. He moved to the United States in 1972 following his expulsion from the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987 and served as US Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992.
Further reading: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/247036