Boris Pasternak
Christmas Star



Christmas poem


Russian literature

Full text poetry

English translation



Boris Pasternak All poetry and stories > here



All Christmas Stories and Tales > here



All Christmas songs Lyrics > here



“The Christmas star” poetry by Boris Pasternak accompanies us in the scene of the birth of the baby Jesus.
In the text of Pasternak’s poem “The Christmas Star” the landscape is not that typical of Palestine but of Russia, the house of the writer Boris Pasternak. The description of the environment and landscape is very accurate and leads us as in a Christmas nativity scene, as if to illuminate Christmas, in a cold winter.

Below you can read the full text translated into English of the poetry “The Christmas Star” by Boris Pasternak.

In the top or side menu, you can read the full text by Boris Pasternak’s poem: “The Christmas Star” translated into other languages: Italian, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, etc.

Enjoy reading and Merry Christmas!



Boris Pasternak
Christmas Star


full text poetry

translation into English




A winter’s day.

The winds came howling in across

the plains, and it was

cold in the cave in the hills where the child lay.


The breath of an ox kept the cold at bay

for the beasts of the farm

had been stabled there and a warm

haze wafted over his bed of hay.


Still half asleep on their rocky protuberances

shepherds brushed off the chaff and seeds which stuck

to their furry coats and looked

out into the midnight distances.


Far away a field lay white beneath the snow, with a chapel nearby,

and gravestones and fences, and the shaft

of a cart sticking out of a snowdrift,

and over the cemetery the star-encrusted sky.


But one star till now unknown to them

seemed to twinkle close at hand, hesitant as the light

behind the window of a watchman’s hut in the night,

and it showed the way to Bethlehem.


Suddenly, as if it would aspire

to rival god and heaven

it flared up like a haystack, like a haybarn,

flared up like a whole farm set on fire.


This blazing straw-bundle broke free

and rose up, crossing all the firmament,

which in turn regarded the ascent

of this new star rather nervously.


Shading their eyes from the glowing flame,

summoned by this fire without precedence

which clearly had to have some significance

three astronomers hurriedly came.


Behind them were camels laden with gifts, and then small

donkeys in harness, followed by even smaller ones,

came trotting down the hill.


And in a strange way one could see the whole

of the future somewhere in the distance,

the thoughts, dreams and worlds of all the centuries, all

future art galleries and museums,


all elfin pranks and wizards’ schemes,

all the Christmas trees in the world, all

children’s dreams, all trembling candle-flames,


all paper-chains, all the magnificence of coloured tinsel …

how bitter and vicious the wind that blew in from the plains …

all the apples, the golden balls …


Though part of the pond was obscured by alder trees

the shepherds had a clear view of the rest between

the topmost branches and the rookeries,


and the camels and donkeys could be easily seen

as they passed the water’s edge. “Let’s travel with these

others, and find this miracle we mean

to worship,” they said, tightening their furs against the icy breeze.


But all this tramping through the snow helped keep

them warm. The prints that their bare feet were marking

shone like mica-slivers in the deep

snow, gleamed like candles, set sheepdogs barking

and made a path which led up to the hut.


The frosty night was a fairy tale where some

unnoticed figure every now and then

stepped from the snows to join the rows of men.


The dogs stood by the sheep-boy, nuzzled him,

– yapped, nervous, as though worse was yet to come.


And mingling with the crowds in that same land

on those same roads walked many an angel – who,

being bodiless, could not be seen and so

their footprints were all that they left behind.


Crowds had gathered by the entrance stone,

as day’s first light revealed the trunks of cedars.

“And who are you?” asked Mary of each one.


“A band of shepherds: the heavens have led us here

to offer both you and your child our praise.”

“You won’t all fit in here: wait by the door.”


In the grey and ashy gloom of early morning

the shepherds and the herdsmen stamped about,

Horsemen and men on foot began to shout

And curse each other round the waterspout,

While asses kept on kicking, camels groaning.


Day broke, and like hot cinders brushed the last

stars from the sky. Of all the motley crowd

that hoped that Mary would permit them past

the threshold, none but the Magi were allowed.


He slept, all radiant, shining like a moonbeam

in some dark hollow, in his oak hay-box.

He needed no furs over him to warm him

for he had donkey’s muzzle, snout of ox.


The Magi in the shadows scarcely dared to speak,

until a hand reached from the darkness

on the left side of the little bed of hay


and nudged one of them aside – he turned and saw,

gazing at the Virgin from the doorway

like some special guest,

the Christmas Star.



Boris Pasternak Christmas Star

Christmas poem – Russian literature

Full text poetry – English translation



Boris Pasternak All poetry and stories > here




All Christmas Stories and Tales > here




All Christmas songs Lyrics > here




Boris Parsternak


Boris Pasternak (Boris Leonidovich Pasternak,10 February 1890 – 30 May 1960) was a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator.

Boris Pasternak is known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel that takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Doctor Zhivago was rejected for publication in the USSR and the manuscript had to be secretly smuggled to Italy for publication

Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an event that enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which forced him to decline the prize, though his descendants were able to accept it in his name in 1988.

Doctor Zhivago has been part of the main Russian school curriculum since 2003


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