Sunday, April 4, 2010

Quick and Bitter - A. Amichai

#3 from Yehuda Amichai (also here In the Middle of This Century, A Precise Woman  thus far). I wish that I could read them in the original Hebrew: if it's this powerful in translation, it's hard to imagine how it must be in the original.  I do not know another poem that is as perfect as this one for its subject matter.
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Quick and Bitter
                                                             transl. from Hebrew by Guttman
The end was quick and bitter.
Slow and sweet was the time between us,
slow and sweet were the nights
when my hands did not touch one another in despair
but in the love of your body
which came between them.

And when I entered into you
it seemed then that great happiness
could be measured with the precision
of sharp pain. Quick and bitter.

Slow and sweet were the nights.
Now is bitter and grinding as sand –
“Let’s be sensible” and similar curses.

And as we stray further from love
we multiply the words,
words and sentences so long and orderly.
Had me remained together
we could have become a silence.
                                                                                      Yehuda Amichai - Israeli

1 comment:

Leo Fong said...

One of my all time favorite
The use of dissonant imagery makes you think. How words separate us and silence comes with true union
How hands that are seperated because they hold love
Stark and spare in words but rich in evocation