Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Poem for the Holiday


On a roof in the Old City
laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight.
the white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,
the towl of a man who is my enemy,
to wipe off the sweat of his brow.

In the sky of the Old City
a kite
At the other end of the string,
a child
I can't see
because of the wall.

We have put up many flags,
they have put up many flags,
to make us think that they're happy.
To make them think that we're happy.

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) was born in Germany and emigrated to Palestine in 1936. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages including Chinese, Estonian and Albanian. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Israel Prize, the country's highest honor. In Hebrew especially, this poem rocks.