Friday, January 20, 2006

56. A LETTER - Yehuda Amichai

To sit on a hotel balcony in Jerusalem
and to write: “Sweetly pass the days
from desert to sea.” And to write: “Tears
dry quickly here. This blot is a tear that
made the ink run.” That’s how they used to write
in the last century. “I have drawn
a little circle around it.”

Time passes, as when someone’s on the phone
laughing or crying far away from me:
whatever I hear, I can’t see;
what I see, I don’t hear.

We weren’t careful when we said “Next year”
or “A month ago.” Those words
are like broken glass: you can hurt yourself with them,
even slash an artery, if
that’s what you’re like.

But you were beautiful as the commentary
on an ancient text.
The surplus of women in you distant country
brought you to me, but
another law of probability
has taken you away again.

To live is to build a ship and a harbor
at the same time. And to finish the harbor
long after the ship has gone down.

And to conclude: I remember only
that it was foggy. And if that’s the way you remember¬——
what do you remember?