Poem

LOSS

Forgetting Someone

Renowned Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai offers profound thought in his poems, "Death of My Father" and "Forgetting Someone."

Forgetting Someone 

Translated by Chana Bloch

 

Forgetting someone is like 

forgetting to turn off the light in the backyard 

so it stays lit all the next day. 

 

But then it’s the light 

that makes you remember.

This poem was from Amichai’s 1980 collection, “From A Great Tranquility: Questions and Answers.”

 

Death of My Father

My father, suddenly, left all the places

For his strange, distant spaces.

 

He went to call his God to allow

That He will come and help us now.

 

And God, like taking troubles, is coming soon,

He hung his coat on the hook of the moon.

 

But our father, who went out on this endeavor 

God will keep him there forever.

 

מוֹת אָבִי

אָבִי פִּתְאֹם, מִכָּל הַחֲדָרים

. יָצָא לְמֶרְחַקָּיו הַמּוּזָרִים

 

,הָלוֹךְ הָלַךְ לִקְרֹא לֵאלֹהָיו

.שֶׁהוּא יָבוֹא לַעֲזֹר לָנוּ עַכְשָיו 

 

,וֵאלֹהִים כְּבָר בָּא, כְּמוֹ טוֹרֵחַ

.תָּלָה אֶת מְעִילוֹ עַל וַו-יָרֵחַ

 

,אַךְ אֶת אָבִינוּ, שֶׁיָּצָא לְהוֹבִילוֹ

.יַחֲזִיק הָאֱלֹהִים לָעַד אֶצְלוֹ

This poem was from one of Amichai’s collections, “My Father’s Death.” It was translated with the help of Benjamin and Barbara Harshav’s Yehuda Amichai: A Life of Poetry 1948-1994. 

POPULAR ARTICLES

EXPLORE MORE Articles

Interview

In our conversations on loss, we spoke with Josh and Dani about keeping the memories of their wife and father alive, even if they are no longer here.

Feature

In one of 18Forty's Must Reads, Rabbi Shmuel Hain writes what a Marvel superhero and the ancient rabbis both knew: Grief is just love persevering.

Book Excerpt

“I don’t know if my words could ever ease your pain,” Julie Yip-Williams writes in a letter to her two daughters. “But I would be remiss if I did not try.”