Yehuda Amichai

(1924 - 2000 / Würzburg / Germany)

Yehuda Amichai
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Amichai was born in Würzburg, Germany, to an Orthodox Jewish family, and was raised speaking both Hebrew and German. According to literary scholar Nili Scharf Gold, a childhood trauma in Germany had an impact on his later poetry: he had an argument with a childhood friend of his, Ruth Hanover, that caused her to bicycle home angrily; she fell and as a result had to get her leg amputated. Several years later, she was unable to join the rest of her family, who fled the Nazi takeover, due to her missing leg, and ended up being killed in the Holocaust. Amichai occasionally referred to her in his poems as "Little Ruth".

Amichai immigrated with his family at the age of 12 to ... more »

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  • Gold Star - 67,439 Points Fabrizio Frosini (10/11/2015 3:52:00 PM)

    Another poem by Yehuda Amichai:

    A Man In His Life

    A man doesn't have time in his life
    to have time for everything.

    He doesn't have seasons enough to have
    a season for every purpose.
    Was wrong about that.

    A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
    to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
    with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
    to make love in war and war in love.

    And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
    to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
    what history
    takes years and years to do.

    A man doesn't have time.

    When he loses he seeks, when he finds
    he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
    he begins to forget.

    And his soul is seasoned, his soul
    is very professional.

    Only his body remains forever
    an amateur.
    It tries and it misses,
    gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
    drunk and blind in its pleasures
    and its pains.

    He will die as figs die in autumn,
    Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
    the leaves growing dry on the ground,
    the bare branches pointing to the place
    where there's time for everything.

  • Rookie Doren Robbins (2/11/2005 3:09:00 AM)

    Amichai speaks in the direct idom of emotion that descended from Whitman's rhythmic prose-poem style. When I read such poems as 'Inside the Apple, ' 'The Real Hero, ' or 'A Pity. We Were Such A Good Invention, ' I understand again that great lyrical poetry is capable of translating the deepest emotions into langauge that brings us to the ground of what living a human life means. That is, his best poems are really hymns to this life full of paradoxical disappointments and exhilarating passion fused with elegies to the duration of those experiences themselves that bring our strongest affirmations.

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Best Poem of Yehuda Amichai

A Pity. We Were Such A Good Invention

They amputated
Your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
Each from the other.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.

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