Treasure Island

Yehuda Amichai

(1924 - 2000 / Würzburg / Germany)

God Full Of Mercy


God-Full-of-Mercy, the prayer for the dead.
If God was not full of mercy,
Mercy would have been in the world,
Not just in Him.
I, who plucked flowers in the hills
And looked down into all the valleys,
I, who brought corpses down from the hills,
Can tell you that the world is empty of mercy.
I, who was King of Salt at the seashore,
Who stood without a decision at my window,
Who counted the steps of angels,
Whose heart lifted weights of anguish
In the horrible contests.

I, who use only a small part
Of the words in the dictionary.

I, who must decipher riddles
I don't want to decipher,
Know that if not for the God-full-of-mercy
There would be mercy in the world,
Not just in Him.


Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rochelle Cashdan (5/18/2008 9:50:00 PM)

    As always, I wonder what the translators have had to strain out, but of course I'm grateful to them for offering the poem. (Report) Reply

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