The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

Ed. and trans. Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell

New York: Harpers & Row, 1986


The famous late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) is considered by many people in Israel and internationally as Israel’s greatest modern poet. His poetry is relevant for all people and cultures, poignant, thought-provoking, and easy to read because it generally contains no esoteric illusions to ancient classical events that seem to be a requirement in most poetry today. Even people who generally dislike poetry will like his poems. This book contains many of them. The following is an example:


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 ever purpose.

Ecclesiastes was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and hate at the same moment,

To laugh and cry with the same eyes.

With the same hands to throw stones

And gather them in,

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,

What history takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.

As he loses he seeks,

As he finds he forgets,

As he forgets he loves,

And as he loves he begins to forget.