Yehuda Amichai--Israeli

 

 
Yehuda Amichai
(1924-2000) 

Born in Germany as Ludwig Pfeuffer, Amachai moved to Palestine with his family in 1935. He fought with the British Army’s Jewish Brigade during World War II. He spent much of his life working as a peace and reconciliation advocate. A number of his books have been translated into English by the British poet, Ted Hughes. His poetry has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is often regarded as one of the best contemporary poets of recent years. A scholar of biblical studies and Hebrew, Amichai’s works frequently include quotes from the Torah. He died in 2000, at the age of 76. 

 

My Mother Once Told Me
 
My mother once told meNot to sleep with flowers in the room.
Ever since, I don't sleep
With flowers, I sleep
Alone, without them.
 


There were lots of flowers,
But I never had enough time.
And beloved people push off
From my life,
Like boats from the shore.

My mother told me
Not to sleep with flowers:
Don't sleep. The mother of my childhood
Won't sleep.

The wooden banister I clutched
When they dragged me off to school
Was burned down long ago.
But my clutching hands remained
Clutching.