An Old Toolshed by Yehuda Amichai

What’s this? This is an old toolshed.
No, this is a great past love.

Anxiety and Joy were here together
in this darkness
and Hope.
Perhaps I’ve been here once before.
I didn’t go near to find out.

These are the voices calling out of a dream.
No, this is a great love.
No, this is an old toolshed.

translated by Yehuda Amichai & Ted Hughes

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

Your Hair Dried Last by Yehuda Amichai

Your hair dried last.
When we were already far from the sea,
when words and salt, which mixed on us,
separated from each other
with a sigh,
and your body no longer showed
signs of terrible antecedents.
In vain we forgot a few things on the beach,
as a pretext to return.
We did not return.

And these days I remember the days
on which your name was fixed like a name on a ship.
And how we saw, through two open doors,
a man thinking, and how we looked
at the clouds with the ancient look
we inherited from our fathers
waiting for rain,
and how at night, when the world had cooled,
your body held on to its heat a long time
like a sea.

A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention by Yehuda Amichai

They amputated
your thighs off my hips.
As far as I’m concerned
they are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
each from the other.
As far as I’m concerned
they are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
and loving invention.
An airplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.