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Yehuda Amichai

(1924 - 2000 / Würzburg / Germany)

And We Shall Not Get Excited


And we shall not get excited. Because a translator
May not get excited. Calmly, we shall pass on
Words from man to son, from one tongue
To others' lips, un-
Knowingly, like a father who passes on
The features of his dead father's face
To his son, and he himself is like neither of them. Merely a mediator.


We shall remember the things we held in our hands
That slipped out.
What I have in my possesion and what I do not have in my possession.

We must not get excited.
Calls and their callers drowned. Or, my beloved
Gave me a few words before she left,
To bring up for her.

And no more shall we tell what we were told
To other tellers. Silence as admission. We must not
Get excited.


Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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