Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Yehuda Amichai: A Child is Something Else Again

Translated by Chana Bloch

.

A child is something else again. Wakes up
in the afternoon and in an instant he’s full of words,
in an instant he’s humming, in an instant warm,
instant light, instant darkness.

.

A child is Job. They’ve already placed their bets on him
but he doesn’t know it. He scratches his body
for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet.
They’re training him to be a polite Job,
to say “Thank you” when the Lord has given,
to say “You’re welcome” when the Lord has taken away.

.

A child is vengeance.
A child is a missile into the coming generations.
I launched him: I’m still trembling.

.

A child is something else again: on a rainy spring day
glimpsing the Garden of Eden through the fence,
kissing him in his sleep,
hearing footsteps in the wet pine needles.
A child delivers you from death.
Child, Garden, Rain, Fate.


.

Yehuda Amichai (born Ludwig Pfeuffer ‎1924 – 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered, both in Israel and internationally, as Israel’s greatest modern poet, and one of the leading poets worldwide. He also wrote two novels and several short stories. He was one of the first poets to write in colloquial Hebrew.

Chana Bloch (1940-2017) was a poet, translator, scholar, and teacher. During her lifetime she authored six books of poems and six books of translations of Hebrew poetry both ancient and contemporary. Her last three books were published by Autumn House Press.

Yehuda Amichai, “A Child Is Something Else Again” from The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Copyright © 2015 by Yehuda Amichai. Included in Vox Populi for educational use only.

Photo by Layle Silbert

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