Saturday, December 7, 2019


from Travels

I am sitting here now with my father's eyes,

and with my mother's greying hair on my head,

in a house that belonged to an Arab

who bought it from an Englishman

who took it from a German

who hewed it from the stones

of Jerusalem, my city:

I look upon God's world of others

who received it from others.

I am composed of many things

I have been collected many times

I am constructed of spare parts

of decomposing materials

of disintegrating words. And already

in the middle of my life, I begin,

gradually, to return them,

for I wish to be a decent and orderly person

when I'm asked at the border, "Have you anything to declare?"

so that there won't be too much pressure at the end

so that I won't arrive sweating and breathless and confused

so that I won't have anything left to declare.

The red stars are my heart, the Milky Way

its blood, my blood. The hot khamsin

breathes in huge lungs, my life

pulses close to a huge heart, always within.


Yehuda Amichai
translated from the Hebrew by Ruth Nevo
Sheep Meadow Press