Monday, May 10, 2010

Like Our Bodies' Imprint - Yehuda Amichai

(#6 here from Yehuda Amichai.)  It's obvious by now that I like his poetry.  A lot.  Read the others - just click on his name in the side-bar - and you'll begin to see why.  His poems get to the essence and the core with not one extra word.  Meeting him that one time and knowing a bit about his life and his writing, he looked to embody a line by Aeschylus:  "The reward of suffering is experience"And a lifetime supply of fodder for poems.  This one.... this one overwhelmed me on first reading and, even now, decades later, still stuns with its powerful imagery of negative space to show the fullness of what once was.
Like our bodies’ imprint
                                                         transl. by Assia Gutmann
Like our bodies’ imprint                                                                               
not a sign will remain that we were in this place.
The world closes behind us,
the sand straightens itself.

Dates are already in view
in which you no longer exist,
already a wind blows clouds
which will not rain on us both.

And your name is already on the passenger lists of ships
and in the registers of hotels
whose names alone
deaden the heart.

The three languages I know,
all the colors in which I see and dream:

None will help me.

                                                                                  Yehuda Amichai- Israeli

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