Two Poems by Yehuda Amichai

I. “A Man in His Life”

“A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.

And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.”


Antonio de Pereda, “The Knight’s Dream”

II. “The Place Where We Are Right”

“From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.”


Bear grass after fire: thanks to rhizomes, it is often the first flower to grow after fire; via

From The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, edited and translated from the Hebrew by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell

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12 Responses to Two Poems by Yehuda Amichai

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    I love that first poem!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oloriel says:

    Wonderful share! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love these two poems. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing depth of soulful word.

    Happy new year love…

    Liked by 1 person

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