A Man in His Life
A man in his life has no time to have
Time for everything.
He has no room to have room
For every desire. Ecclesiastes was wrong to claim that.
A man has to hate and love all at once,
With the same eyes to cry and to laugh
With the same hands to throw stones
And to gather them,
Make love in war and war in love.
And hate and forgive and remember and forget
And order and confuse and eat and digest
What long history does
In so many years.
A man in his life has no time.
When he loses he seeks
When he finds he forgets
When he forgets he loves
When he loves he begins forgetting.
And his soul is knowing
And very professional,
Only his body remains an amateur
Always. It tries and fumbles.
He doesn’t learn and gets confused,
Drunk and blind in his pleasures and pains.
In autumn, he will die like a fig,
Shriveled, sweet, full of himself.
The leaves dry out on the ground,
And the naked branches point
To the place where there is time for everything.
by Yehuda Amichai
from the collection, The Selected Poetry Of Yehuda Amichai (Literature of the Middle East)
University of California Press.