Top 20 Most Popular Poems of Yehuda Amichai

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Yehuda Amichai.

From A Man Doesn’t Have Time In His Life to Jerusalem.

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!…

A Man Doesn’t Have Time 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 them,
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.

Yehuda Amichai

The School Where I Studied


I passed by the school where I studied as a boy
and said in my heart: here I learned certain things
and didn’t learn others. All my life I have loved in vain
the things I didn’t learn. I am filled with knowledge,
I know all about the flowering of the tree of knowledge,
the shape of its leaves, the function of its root system, its pests and parasites.
I’m an expert on the botany of good and evil,
I’m still studying it, I’ll go on studying till the day I die.
I stood near the school building and looked in. This is the room
where we sat and learned. The windows of a classroom always open
to the future, but in our innocence we thought it was only landscape
we were seeing from the window.
The schoolyard was narrow, paved with large stones.
I remember the brief tumult of the two of us
near the rickety steps, the tumult
that was the beginning of a first great love.
Now it outlives us, as if in a museum,
like everything else in Jerusalem.

Yehuda Amichai

Do Not Accept


Do not accept these rains that come too late.
Better to linger. Make your pain
An image of the desert. Say it’s said
And do not look to the west. Refuse


To surrender. Try this year too
To live alone in the long summer,
Eat your drying bread, refrain
From tears. And do not learn from


Experience. Take as an example my youth,
My return late at night, what has been written
In the rain of yesteryear. It makes no difference


Now. See your events as my events.
Everything will be as before: Abraham will again
Be Abram. Sarah will be Sarai.


trans. Benjamin & Barbara Harshav

Yehuda Amichai

Before


Before the gate has been closed,
before the last question is posed,
before I am transposed.
Before the weeds fill the gardens,
before there are no pardons,
before the concrete hardens.
Before all the flute-holes are covered,
before things are locked in then cupboard,
before the rules are discovered.
Before the conclusion is planned,
before God closes his hand,
before we have nowhere to stand.

Yehuda Amichai

Great Serenity: Questions And Answers


People in a hall that’s lit so brightly
It hurts
Spoke of religion
In the lives of contemporary people
And on the place of God

People spoke in excited voices
Like in an airport
I left them
I opened an iron door that had written on it
‘Emergency and I entered within.
Great serenity: Questions and answers

Yehuda Amichai

Wildpeace


Not the peace of a cease-fire
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill, that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds – who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)


Let it come
like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.

Yehuda Amichai

The Diameter Of The Bomb


The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making a circle with no end and no God.

Yehuda Amichai

The First Rain


The first rain reminds me
Of the rising summer dust.
The rain doesn’t remember the rain of yesteryear.
A year is a trained beast with no memories.
Soon you will again wear your harnesses,
Beautiful and embroidered, to hold
Sheer stockings: you
Mare and harnesser in one body.


The white panic of soft flesh
In the panic of a sudden vision
Of ancient saints.

Yehuda Amichai

An Arab Shepherd Is Searching For His Goat On Mount Zion


An Arab shepherd is searching for his goat on Mount Zion
And on the opposite hill I am searching for my little boy.
An Arab shepherd and a Jewish father
Both in their temporary failure.
Our two voices met above
The Sultan’s Pool in the valley between us.
Neither of us wants the boy or the goat
To get caught in the wheels
Of the “Had Gadya” machine.


Afterward we found them among the bushes,
And our voices came back inside us
Laughing and crying.


Searching for a goat or for a child has always been
The beginning of a new religion in these mountains.

Yehuda Amichai

Yad Mordechai


Yad Mordechai. Those who fell here
still look out the windows like sick children
who are not allowed outside to play.
And on the hillside, the battle is reenacted
for the benefit of hikers and tourists. Soldiers of thin sheet iron
rise and fall and rise again. Sheet iron dead and a sheet iron life
and the voices all-sheet iron. And the resurrection of the dead,
sheet iron that clangs and clangs.


And I said to myself: Everyone is attached to his own lament
as to a parachute. Slowly he descends and slowly hovers
until he touches the hard place.

Yehuda Amichai

What Kind Of A Person


“What kind of a person are you,” I heard them say to me.
I’m a person with a complex plumbing of the soul,
Sophisticated instruments of feeling and a system
Of controlled memory at the end of the twentieth century,
But with an old body from ancient times
And with a God even older than my body.
I’m a person for the surface of the earth.
Low places, caves and wells
Frighten me. Mountain peaks
And tall buildings scare me.
I’m not like an inserted fork,
Not a cutting knife, not a stuck spoon.


I’m not flat and sly
Like a spatula creeping up from below.
At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
Mashing good and bad together
For a little taste
And a little fragrance.


Arrows do not direct me. I conduct
My business carefully and quietly
Like a long will that began to be written
The moment I was born.


Now I stand at the side of the street
Weary, leaning on a parking meter.
I can stand here for nothing, free.


I’m not a car, I’m a person,
A man-god, a god-man
Whose days are numbered. Hallelujah.

Yehuda Amichai

Forgetting Someone


Forgetting someone is like forgetting to turn off the light
in the backyard so it stays lit all the next day


But then it is the light that makes you remember.

Yehuda Amichai

You Mustn’t Show Weakness


You mustn’t show weakness
and you’ve got to have a tan.
But sometimes I feel like the thin veils
of Jewish women who faint
at weddings and on Yom Kippur.


You mustn’t show weakness
and you’ve got to make a list
of all the things you can load
in a baby carriage without a baby.

This is the way things stand now:
if I pull out the stopper
after pampering myself in the bath,
I’m afraid that all of Jerusalem, and with it the whole world,
will drain out into the huge darkness.


In the daytime I lay traps for my memories
and at night I work in the Balaam Mills,
turning curse into blessing and blessing into curse.


And don’t ever show weakness.
Sometimes I come crashing down inside myself
without anyone noticing. I’m like an ambulance
on two legs, hauling the patient
inside me to Last Aid
with the wailing of cry of a siren,
and people think it’s ordinary speech.

Yehuda Amichai

I Know A Man

I know a man
who photographed the view he saw
from the window of the room where he made love
and not the face of the woman he loved there.

Yehuda Amichai

My Father


The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,


and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.

Yehuda Amichai

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 them,
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.

Yehuda Amichai

Try To Remember Some Details


Try to remember some details. Remember the clothing
of the one you love
so that on the day of loss you’ll be able to say: last seen
wearing such-and-such, brown jacket, white hat.
Try to remember some details. For they have no face
and their soul is hidden and their crying is the same as their laughter,
and their silence and their shouting rise to one height
and their body temperature is between 98 and 104 degrees
and they have no life outside this narrow space
and they have no graven image, no likeness, no memory
and they have paper cups on the day of their rejoicing
and paper cups that are used once only.


Try to remember some details. For the world
is filled with people who were torn from their sleep with no one to mend the tear,
and unlike wild beasts they live
each in his lonely hiding place and they die together on battlefields and in hospitals.
And the earth will swallow all of them,
good and evil together, like the followers of Korah,
all of them in their rebellion against death,
their mouths open till the last moment,
praising and cursing in a single howl. Try, try to remember some details.

Yehuda Amichai

Half The People In The World


Half the people in the world love the other half,
half the people hate the other half.
Must I because of this half and that half go wandering
and changing ceaselessly like rain in its cycle,
must I sleep among rocks, and grow rugged like
the trunks of olive trees,
and hear the moon barking at me,
and camouflage my love with worries,
and sprout like frightened grass between the railroad tracks,
and live underground like a mole,
and remain with roots and not with branches, and not
feel my cheek against the cheek of angels, and
love in the first cave, and marry my wife
beneath a canopy of beams that support the earth,
and act out my death, always till the last breath and
the last words and without ever understandig,
and put flagpoles on top of my house and a bob shelter
underneath. And go out on rads made only for
returning and go through all the apalling
stationscat,stick,fire,water,butcher,
between the kid and the angel of death?
Half the people love,
half the people hate.
And where is my place between such well-matched halves,
and through what crack will I see the white housing
projects of my dreams and the bare foot runners
on the sands or, at least, the waving of a girl’s
kerchief, beside the mound?

Yehuda Amichai

A Pity, We Were Such A Good Invention


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 aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.


We even flew a little.

Yehuda Amichai

Jerusalem


On a roof in the Old City
Laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight:
The white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,
The towel of a man who is my enemy,
To wipe off the sweat of his brow.

In the sky of the Old City
A kite.
At the other end of the string,
A child
I can’t see
Because of the wall.


We have put up many flags,
They have put up many flags.
To make us think that they’re happy.
To make them think that we’re happy.

Yehuda Amichai

All of these poems are masterpieces! No wonder Yehuda Amichai was one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew in modern times. His skills in writing poetry are indeed magnificent. That’s why he was given different awards such as the 1957 Shlonsky Prize, the 1969 Brenner Prize, 1976 Bialik Prize, and 1982 Israel Prize.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss reading my favorite work in this collection―What Kind Of A Person. I always ask myself this question whenever I forget my purpose in life.

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Yehuda Amichai?

Do you still want to add another of his poem to this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉

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