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 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 digest
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 misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind it 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.
Hebrew; trans. Chana Bloch
Yehuda Amichai, Hebrew, trans. Chana Bloch, The Selected
Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, Newly Revised and Expanded
Edition, University of California Press, 1996.