Friday, February 8, 2013

One Hell of a Poet: Yehuda Amichai (Israel, d. 2000)

"And whoever remember his childhood best
he's the winner,
if there are winners."  -Yehuda Amichai "1924"

I was born in 1924: if I were a violin of the same age,
I would be one the best. As a wine I'd be first- rate
or completely sour. As a dog I'd be dead. As a book
I'd be just getting valuable or already out-of-date.
As a forest I'd be young; as a machine ridiculous.
But as a human being, I'm very tired.
I was born in 1924. When I think about mankind
I think only of those who were born the same year as I,
whose mothers lay in labor with mine,
in hospitals, unlit rooms, wherever.
Today, on my birthday, I'd like to say
a blessing over you,
you whose lives are weighed down by hopes and disappointments,
whose deeds grow less, and whose gods
more numerous--
you are all brothers of my hope, friends of my despair.
May you find lasting peace,
the living in their lives, the dead
in being dead.
And whoever remembers his childhood best,
he's the winner,
if there are any winners.Yehuda Amichai
translated by Chana Bloch.