Yehuda Amichai

(1924 - 2000 / Würzburg / Germany)

Memorial Day For The War Dead - Poem by Yehuda Amichai

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you. Mix
sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history,
which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning
on one day for easy, convenient memory.

Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."
No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.

Memorial day. Bitter salt is dressed up
as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes,
for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly,
like stepping over broken glass.

The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads
with the swimming movements of the dead,
with the ancient error the dead have
about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with
dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages:
Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.

A great and royal animal is dying
all through the night under the jasmine
tree with a constant stare at the world.

A man whose son died in the war walks in the street
like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."


Comments about Memorial Day For The War Dead by Yehuda Amichai

  • (5/12/2017 10:30:00 AM)


    Dear, Mr Amichai I am working on a project in English where I find soldiers poems, stories, or journal entries and analyse them. after reading your poem i wanted to comment about it. i really love where you are coming from in this poem. a lot of people take memorial day for granted and they should not because soldiers have given us everything we have today and i would just like to say thank you and i will be remembering all those that have fallen this memorial day. I wish u the best. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: happiness, grief, animal, swimming, sorrow, war, woman, soldier, history, women, memory, girl, son, beautiful, together, children, tree, water, world, death



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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