28 Total Quotes

Yehuda Amichai Quotes

Once a great love cut my life in two. The first part goes on twisting at some other place like a snake cut in two. The passing years have calmed me and brought healing to my heart and rest to my eyes. And I'm like someone standing in the Judean desert, looking at a sign: "Sea Level" He cannot see the sea, but he knows. Thus I remember your face everywhere at your "face Level."
Yehuda Amichai
#Love

I don't Know if history repeats itself But I do know that you don't. I remember that city was didvided Not only between Jews and Arabs, But Between me and you, When we were there together. We made ourselves a womb of dangers We built ourselves a house of deadening wars Like men of far north Who build themselves a safe warm house of deadening ice. The city has been reunited But we haven't been there together. By now I know That History doesn't repeat itself, As I always knew that you wouldn't.
Yehuda Amichai
#History

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
#Fathers

Visits of condolence is all we get from them. They squat at the Holocaust Memorial, They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall And they laugh behind heavy curtains In their hotels. They have their pictures taken Together with our famous dead At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb And on Ammunition Hill. They weep over our sweet boys And lust after our tough girls And hang up their underwear To dry quickly In cool, blue bathrooms. Once I sat on the steps by agate at David's Tower, I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. "You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there's an arch from the Roman period. Just right of his head." "But he's moving, he's moving!" I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, "You see that arch from the Roman period? It's not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who's bought fruit and vegetables for his family."
Yehuda Amichai
#Travel And Tourism

God has pity on kindergarten children, He pities school children -- less. But adults he pities not at all. He abandons them, And sometimes they have to crawl on all fours In the scorching sand To reach the dressing station, Streaming with blood. But perhaps He will have pity on those who love truly And take care of them And shade them Like a tree over the sleeper on the public bench. Perhaps even we will spend on them Our last pennies of kindness Inherited from mother, So that their own happiness will protect us Now and on other days.
Yehuda Amichai
#Children #God

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
#Short

A precise woman with a short haircut brings order to my thoughts and my dresser drawers, moves feelings around like furniture into a new arrangement. A woman whose body is cinched at the waist and firmly divided into upper and lower, with weather-forecast eyes of shatterproof glass. Even her cries of passion follow a certain order, one after the other: tame dove, then wild dove, then peacock, wounded peacock, peacock, peacock, the wild dove, tame dove, dove dove thrush, thrush, thrush. A precise woman: on the bedroom carpet her shoes always point away from the bed. (My own shoes point toward it.)
Yehuda Amichai
#Poems about Women

All night the army came up from Gilgal To get to the killing field, and that's all. In the ground, warf and woof, lay the dead. I want to die in My own bed. Like slits in a tank, their eyes were uncanny, I'm always the few and they are the many. I must answer. They can interrogate My head. But I want to die in My own bed. The sun stood still in Gibeon. Forever so, it's willing to illuminate those waging battle and killing. I may not see My wife when her blood is shed, But I want to die in My own bed. Samson, his strength in his long black hair, My hair they sheared when they made me a hero Perforce, and taught me to charge ahead. I want to die in My own bed. I saw you could live and furnish with grace Even a lion's den, if you've no other place. I don't even mind to die alone, to be dead, But I want to die in My own bed.
Yehuda Amichai
#Death And Dying

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 stations--cat,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
#People

On a little hill amid fertile fields lies a small cemetery, a Jewish cemetery behind a rusty gate, hidden by shrubs, abandoned and forgotten. Neither the sound of prayer nor the voice of lamentation is heard there for the dead praise not the Lord. Only the voices of our children ring out, seeking graves and cheering each time they find one--like mushrooms in the forest, like wild strawberries. Here's another grave! There's the name of my mother's mothers, and a name from the last century. And here's a name, and there! And as I was about to brush the moss from the name-- Look! an open hand engraved on the tombstone, the grave of a kohen, his fingers splayed in a spasm of holiness and blessing, and here's a grave concealed by a thicket of berries that has to be brushed aside like a shock of hair from the face of a beautiful beloved woman.
Yehuda Amichai
#Cemeteries

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now the grief of all your losses to their grief, even of a woman that has left you. Mix sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history, which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning on one day for easy, convenient memory. Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread, in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God. "Behind all this some great happiness is hiding." No use to weep inside and to scream outside. Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding. Memorial day. Bitter salt is dressed up as a little girl with flowers. The streets are cordoned off with ropes, for the marching together of the living and the dead. Children with a grief not their own march slowly, like stepping over broken glass. The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days. A dead soldier swims above little heads with the swimming movements of the dead, with the ancient error the dead have about the place of the living water. A flag loses contact with reality and flies off. A shopwindow is decorated with dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white. And everything in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and Death. A great and royal animal is dying all through the night under the jasmine tree with a constant stare at the world. A man whose son died in the war walks in the street like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb. "Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."
Yehuda Amichai
#Death #Memory #War

My child wafts peace. When I lean over him, It is not just the smell of soap. All the people were children wafting peace. (And in the whole land, not even one Millstone remained that still turned). Oh, the land torn like clothes That can't be mended. Hard, lonely fathers even in the cave of the Makhpela* Childless silence. My child wafts peace. His mother's womb promised him What God cannot Promise us. * The traditional burial place in Hebron of Abraham and the other Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Israel.
Yehuda Amichai
#Children #Peace

I have become very hairy all over my body. I'm afraid they'll start hunting me because of my fur. My multicolored shirt has no meaning of love -- it looks like an air photo of a railway station. At night my body is open and awake under the blanket, like eyes under the blindfold of someone to be shot. Restless I shall wander about; hungry for life I'll die. Yet I wanted to be calm, like a mound with all its cities destroyed, and tranquil, like a full cemetery.
Yehuda Amichai
#Humorous

After you left me I let a dog smell at My chest and my belly. It will fill its nose And set out to find you. I hope it will tear the Testicles of your lover and bite off his penis Or at least Will bring me your stockings between his teeth.
Yehuda Amichai
#Love

There is a street where they sell only red meat And there is a street where they sell only clothes and perfumes. And there is a day when I see only cripples and the blind And those covered with leprosy, and spastics and those with twisted lips. Here they build a house and there they destroy Here they dig into the earth And there they dig into the sky, Here they sit and there they walk Here they hate and there they love. But he who loves Jerusalem By the tourist book or the prayer book is like one who loves a women By a manual of sex positions.
Yehuda Amichai
#Love

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
#Peace

God-Full-of-Mercy, the prayer for the dead. If God was not full of mercy, Mercy would have been in the world, Not just in Him. I, who plucked flowers in the hills And looked down into all the valleys, I, who brought corpses down from the hills, Can tell you that the world is empty of mercy. I, who was King of Salt at the seashore, Who stood without a decision at my window, Who counted the steps of angels, Whose heart lifted weights of anguish In the horrible contests. I, who use only a small part Of the words in the dictionary. I, who must decipher riddles I don't want to decipher, Know that if not for the God-full-of-mercy There would be mercy in the world, Not just in Him.
Yehuda Amichai
#God #Mercy

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
#Poems about 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 tha
Yehuda Amichai
#Life #Short

And we shall not get excited. Because a translator May not get excited. Calmly, we shall pass on Words from man to son, from one tongue<
Yehuda Amichai
#Short

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
#Short

Near the wall of a house painted to look like stone, I saw visions of God. A sleepless night that gives others a headache gave me flowers<br
Yehuda Amichai
#Short