Eating Poetry (XVI) – Two Poems to Mark a Moment

by A. Jay Adler on June 12, 2010
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Yehuda Amichai (Ludwig Pfeuffer) was born in Würzburg, Germany, to an Orthodox Jewish family, and was raised speaking both Hebrew and German.
Amichai immigrated with his family at the age of 11 to Mandate Palestine in 1935, moving to Jerusalem in 1936.  He was a member of the Palmach, the strike force of the Haganah, the defence force of the Jewish community in Mandate Palestine. As a young man he volunteered and fought in World War II as a member of the British Army Jewish Brigade, and in the Negev on the southern front in the Israeli War of Independence….In 1956, Amichai served in the Sinai War, and in 1973 he served in the Yom Kippur War.

The Diameter of the Bomb

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the howl of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.

(Translated by Chana Bloch) H/T Hagyen

Alex Lemon is the author of Happy: A Memoir (Scribner), the poetry collections Mosquito (Tin House Books), Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions), Fancy Beasts (forthcoming, Milkweed Editions), and the chapbook At Last Unfolding Congo (horse less press)….He was awarded a 2005 Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2006 Minnesota Arts Board Grant. He co-edits LUNA: A Journal of Poetry and Translation with Ray Gonzalez and frequently writes book reviews. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas and teaches at Texas Christian University.

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Maureen June 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

Thank you for the introduction to these marvelous poets, Jay.

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