Poems by Chana Bloch

Please Hold


The Kiss





by Yehuda Amichai

A psalm on the day
a building contractor cheated me. A psalm of praise.
Plaster falls from the ceiling, the wall is sick, paint
cracking like lips.
The vines I've sat under, the fig tree-
it's all just words. The rustling of the trees
creates an illusion of God and Justice.

I dip my dry glance like bread
into the death that softens it,
always on the table in front of me.
Years ago, my life
turned my life into a revolving door.
I think about those who, in joy and success,
have gotten far ahead of me,
carried between two men for all to see
like that bunch of shiny pampered grapes
from the Promised Land,
and those who are carried off, also
between two men: wounded or dead. A psalm.

When I was a child I sang in the synagogue choir,
I sang till my voice broke. I sang
first voice and second voice. And I'll go on singing
till my heart breaks, first heart and second heart.
A psalm.

translated by Chana Bloch

From THE SELECTED POETRY OF YEHUDA AMICHAI (The University of California Press, 1986)