Mission by Yehuda Amichai

Tell them it’s not just me,
Others too.
It happened,
And I couldn’t change a thing.

Repeat the words again,
Translate them into two or three languages
And look into their eyes, see how understanding
Rises in them. And how it dies like smoke.
And in the end, call in another voice,
A voice that folds into your heart.
Not for them anymore. See
They start their supper. Don’t sup with them.
Come back to me.

translated by Benjamin & Barbara Harshav

And After That The Rain by Yehuda Amichai

And after all that–the rain.
When we learned to read the book of lingering
And the book of parting,
When our hair learned all the winds
And our sweet free hours
Are trained to run all around
In the ring of time.

After all that–the rain.
A big salty sea
Comes to us, stammering
Sweet and heavy drops.

And after all that–the rain.
See, we too
Pour down
To the one who receives us and doesn’t remember,
the spring earth.

translated by Benjamin & Barbara Harshav

The Swan by Rainer Maria Rilke

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is a letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan when he nervously lets himself down

into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each minute more fully grown,
more like a king, composed, farther and farther on.

translated by Robert Bly

I Find You by Rainer Maria Rilke

I had you in all these things of the world,
that I love calmly, like a brother;
in things no one cares for you brood like a seed;
and to powerful things you give an immense power.

Strength plays such a marvelous game–
it moves through the things of the world like a servant,
groping out in roots, tapering in trunks,
and in the treetops like a rising from the dead.

translated by Robert Bly