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Yehuda Amichai - Selected Poetry

Yehuda Amichai - Selected Poetry

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Published by Smarth
I made this document by compiling a selection from the Net. Absolutely riveting.
I made this document by compiling a selection from the Net. Absolutely riveting.

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Published by: Smarth on Nov 27, 2008
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11/30/2012

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 I
YYehuda Amichaiehuda Amichaiehuda Amichaiehuda Amichai
 
1924-2000
 
 Y 
ehuda Amichai was one of the leading contemporary Hebrew poets. Hiscontribution extends beyond his own literary achievements to an influence thathelped create a modern Israeli poetry.
B
orn in Germany to a religiously observant family, Amichai and his family emigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1935, living briefly in Petach Tikvah before settlingin Jerusalem. In World War II he fought with the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, and upon his discharge in 1946, he joined the Palmach. During the War of Independence he fought in the Negev, on the southern front. Following the war, Amichai attended Hebrew University, studying Biblical texts and Hebrew literature, and then taught in secondary schools.
 A 
michai's first volume of poetry,
 Achshav Uve-Yamim HaAharim
(“Now and inOther Days”) was published in 1955 and aroused serious interest in readers andcritics alike. This and subsequent volumes of poetry revealed that Amichai wasengaged in a distinctly modern literary enterprise, both in content and inlanguage. Subjects heretofore deemed prosaic became appropriate poetic images:tanks, airplanes, fuel, administrative contracts, and technological terms figure inhis work, reflecting Amichai's conviction that a modern poetry must confront andreflect contemporary issues.
C
oncomitant with his non-traditional choice of subjects is Amichai's innovativeuse of the Hebrew language. Drawing from and interfacing various strata of language, from classical Hebrew to the post-modern colloquial, Amichai becameknown as the “poet who plays with words.” Influenced by the wit and irony of modern English poetry, Amichai, also a master of understatement, coined new idioms and slang expressions, and incorporated prose phrases in his work. As with his imagery and subject matter, his linguistic versatility reflects his sensethat language, including poetic language, emerges out of the moderntechnological society rather than classical texts only. Hence the citation of theIsrael Prize, awarded to Amichai in 1982, which heralded “the revolutionary change in poetry's language” that the poet had begun through his work.
 
 II
 A 
michai's poetry spans a range of emotions, from laughter to sadness to self-mockery. His work emphasizes the individual who, although conscious andintegrally part of the collective experience, ultimately views the world through hispersonal lens. This individual perspective evinces a candid, honest approach tothe outside world.
 A 
michai's canon is also impressive for the volume of work it encompasses, andmany individual books of poetry appeared in rapid succession, as well as
Collected Poems
(1963) and
 Selected Works
of 1981.
 Shirei Yerushalayim
 (“Poems of Jerusalem,” 1987) is a bilingual edition accompanied by photographsof the city, a model Amichai used again in 1992 for other poems, scenes, andphotos. In addition to his numerous volumes of poetry, he has written shortstories, two novels, radio sketches, and children's literature. Much of his work has been translated into other languages.
1.
God Full of Mercy 
2.
Temporary Poem of My Time
3.
The First Rain
4.
What Kind of a Person
5.
God Has Pity on Kindergarten Children
6.
Ein Yahav 
7.
Yad Mordechai
8.
A Jewish Cemetery inGermany 
9.
A Man in His Life
10.
A Pity, We Were Such a GoodInvention
11.
A Precise Woman
12.
An Arab Shepherd isSearching for his Goat on MountZion
13.
And We Shall Not Get Excited
14.
Before
15.
Do Not Accept
16.
Half the People in This World
17.
I don’t Know if History Repeats Itself 
18.
I Have Become Very Hairy 
19.
I Know a Man
20.
I Want to Die in My Own Bed
21.
If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem
22.
Jerusalem
23.
Love of Jerusalem
24.
Memorial Day for the WarDead
25.
My Child Wafts Peace
26.
My father
27.
Near the Wall of the House
28.
Of Three or Four in the Room
29.
On Rabbi Kook’s Street
30.
Once a Great Love
31.
Quick and Bitter
32.
Temporary Poem of My Time
33.
The First Rain
34.
The Little Park Planted
35.
Tourists
36.
Try to Remember SomeDetails
37.
What Kind of a Person
38.
Wildpeace
39.
You Mustn’t Show Weakness
 
 III
God Full of Mercy 
God-Full-of-Mercy
, the prayer for the dead.If God was not full of mercy,Mercy would have been in the world,Not just in Him.I, who plucked flowers in the hills And looked down into all the valleys,I, who brought corpses down from the hills,Can tell you that the world is empty of mercy.I, who was King of Salt at the seashore, Who stood without a decision at my window, Who counted the steps of angels, Whose heart lifted weights of anguishIn the horrible contests.I, who use only a small partOf the words in the dictionary.I, who must decipher riddlesI don't want to decipher,Know that if not for the God-full-of-mercy There would be mercy in the world,Not just in Him.
Temporary Poem of My Time
 Hebrew writing and Arabic writing go from east to west,Latin writing, from west to east.Languages are like cats: You must not stroke their hair the wrong way.The clouds come from the sea, the hot wind from the desert,The trees bend in the wind, And stones fly from all four winds,Into all four winds. They throw stones,Throw this land, one at the other,But the land always falls back to the land.They throw the land, want to get rid of it.Its stones, its soil, but you can't get rid of it.They throw stones, throw stones at meIn 1936, 1938, 1948, 1988,Semites throw at Semites and anti-Semites at anti-Semites,Evil men throw and just men throw,Sinners throw and tempters throw,Geologists throw and theologists throw,

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