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Yehuda Amichai (1924 - )
...widely considered to be the most prominent poet in Israel, was born in 1924 in Wurtzburg, Germany, and emigrated to Israel in 1936. As a modern poet, Amichai's work confronts the issue of identity, including a preoccupation with self-definition. Another important element found in Amichai's work is the concept of time, in which pre-modernism saw time as a linear construct, and which now (in "post-modernism"), can be viewed as malleable. His language resonates with biblical allusions, but his real power lies in his ability to depict human suffering and human emotion.


My Mother Once Told Me

My mother once told me
Not to sleep with flowers in the room.
Ever since, I don't sleep
With flowers, I sleep
Alone, without them.

There were lots of flowers,
But I never had enough time.
And beloved people push off
From my life,
Like boats from the shore.

My mother told me
Not to sleep with flowers:
Don't sleep. The mother of my childhood
Won't sleep.

The wooden banister I clutched
When they dragged me off to school
Was burned down long ago.
But my clutching hands remained
Clutching.