Great Tranquillity: Questions and Answers – Yehuda Amichai

Rating: ★★★

Closed are the doors

Closed are the doors that were to be
open to me forever. And those I can open
guard vacant places
like ancient despolied graves.

I think about the love of people
who have forgotten
to take down decorations after the festival:
what do they have left?

Farewell to you too. The hour
we woke early to part
has stayed fixed in me, like an alarm clock
that needs to alarm no more, but just

1471960A good friend loves Amichai’s poetry. Now I can see why. Born in Germany in 1924, he knew war and loss from the beginning, until he died in Israel in 2000. His poetry – replete with allusions to daily life and the philosophical complexity they entail, abundant in keepsakes and possibilities, subtleties and directness – reflects his inner conflicts, the ambivalence towards the bittersweet nature of memory, the countless attempts to hold on to certain things in order to make some sense of the world.
This is not even one of Amichai’s most popular poetry collections for some reason, but it packed quite a punch. I can’t imagine the rest – because I’m definitely going to keep exploring his work. If not great, something has to bring some tranquility, someday.

* Credit: Book cover via Goodreads

4 thoughts on “Great Tranquillity: Questions and Answers – Yehuda Amichai

  1. So happy to see you are reading Amichai and that you read and appreciated this unjustly and largely ignored collection! Could not help but share a poem of his with you:

    Once A Great Love

    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.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was such an exquisite poetry collection! So many memorable lines, I really enjoyed it. I hope I can find another book of his so I can continue the journey in the near future. Thank you for reading and for sharing another gorgeous poem, his verses also bring healing to people’s hearts and rest to their eyes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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