Joseph Brodsky: the word as a service


The commitment to understand the nature of existence, the world, the divine side of reality pervades all the works of the great Russian poet, Nobel prize winner Joseph Alexandrovich Brodsky (1940 – 1996).

The poet first read the Bible at the age of 23 years. The main issues of faith for Brodsky was the unpredictability of God, His absolute freedom and exercise that freedom in his world.

Questions of faith in the poetry of the Russian poet are interpreted difficult, sometimes controversial and dramatic. The abundance of evil on earth is a legitimate question, “Why?” Brodsky said in the Bible on him the strongest impression the book of job. This may explain the appearance of the poem “conversation with a celestial being” laced with skepticism and a desire to understand the actions of God in the midst of suffering.

Joseph Brodsky did not adhere to any particular religion. His thoughts about God are non-denominational.

Brodsky is typical of the Christian attitude to poetry as the gift for which he is responsible. The possession of this gift the poet understood as responsibility and service. Service through words that have incredible power, because “the Word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Psalm 32:6). Through the word man is able to comprehend the Genesis, he becomes involved in different cultural spaces and eras. Through the word he is able to transform relationships between people, and that means the world.

The idea of understanding God is the most bright and original is reflected in the 23 Christmas poems, which were created in different periods of the poet’s life. The light of Christmas reveals a number of deep and complex for the comprehension questions: the loneliness of God among men, His sacrifice and humility, the mystery of the convergence of heaven and earth in the incarnation.

Description of the holiday hustle and bustle in the poem “December 24, 1971” filled with sorrow because for external rites, it defeats the understanding of the true meaning of the holiday:

Mesh bags, shopping bags, bags,
Hats, ties, knocked on its side.
The smell of vodka, pine, and cod
Tangerines, cinnamon and apples.
Chaos entities, and is not visible trails
To Bethlehem because of the snow grains.

Then celebrate today everywhere
His approximation shifting
All of the tables. No need to star
Though still, but it will good
In humans, the visible from afar…

Unusual interpretation that extends the vision crucial for the Earth event, receives a Christmas star.

“Christmas star”, 1987:

Carefully, without blinking, through rare clouds
Lying in a manger baby from afar
From the depths of the Universe, with its other end,
Star looked into the cave.
And it was a look Father.

“The flight into Egypt-2”, 1995:

Star looked over the threshold.
Only one among them who could
to know what her eyes meant
was a baby; but he was silent.

In the context of the joyful spirit of the Christmas holiday exacerbated the loneliness of God among the people. Compounding the comprehension of Its loneliness, the way of the desert. Jesus ‘ earthly life was often associated with desert places. And among the many people He too felt deserted.

“Lullaby”, 1992:

If the lamp burns, the son of
At a late hour
Remembering the one who is in the desert
As long as us.

This condition of loneliness is complemented by the many facets of His self-denial, one of which is homelessness. God, Who by His Word created the whole Universe, had no place on earth where to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). In a state of homelessness is manifested the character of God: He, as Creator, does not need in the house, but analepsis to the image of man, Christ felt the need for shelter.

“Imagine striking a match that night in the cave…”, 1989:

Imagine that the Lord in the Human Son
For the first time finds Themselves at a huge
In the dark distance: homeless in a homeless.

The turning point for humanity — the saving incarnation — the poet passes through a contrasting comparison in the poem “Candlemas”. The plot is based on the gospel story of the elder Simeon, to whom was revealed, that he would not see death until seeing the Messiah. The title of Brodsky’s symbolic: the place of meeting is the meeting with the elder and a baby (the old “leaven” and the new doctrine), two eras and worldviews, and most importantly — the substance of things hoped for by previous generations for the salvation of mankind. The poem ends with the lines: “the Lamp of light, and the trail extended”. Due to the birth and atoning death of Christ on the trail people can walk to salvation. And Ministry of each person is to help others come to God. Joseph Brodsky has served the poetic word.

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