Yehuda Amichai


When I was a Boy

Translated by Margalit Benaya

When I was a boy
Grasses and masts stood beside the shore,
And I, lying there,
Couldn’t distinguish between them,
For they all rose up to the sky above me.
Only the words of my mother stayed with me
Like a slice of bread wrapped in rustling tissue
And I did not know when my father would return,
For there was another forest beyond the clearing.

Everything held out a hand,
A bull tossed the sun on its horns,
And in the nights the streetlights stroked
My cheeks with the walls,
And the moon, like a great jar, tilted itself
And watered my thirsty sleep.

Notes on this poem

Reproduced by permission of Hana Amichai.