Yehuda Amichai: “A Man in his life”


A man in his life-
the first temple is destroyed and the second temple is destroyed,
but he must remain in his life.
That is not like what happened to a nation
that went into exile over there,
that is not like what happened to the Lord
who simply ascended to lofty locales.

A man in his life
revives the dead in a dream
and buries (them) in his second dream.

Yehuda Amichai

Translated by M. Salomon

Photo credit: Detail from Stones from temple wall by Goldberg


~ by matt on 6 November 2007.

2 Responses to “Yehuda Amichai: “A Man in his life””

  1. wow never read that translation before
    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
    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

  2. Thank you Angelica. Clearly we have two poems with the same title. The Hebrew poem I translated was, I believe, not published during Amichai’s lifetime. Thanks for posting this poem as well–it’s quite poignant.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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