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
A 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