A Man in His Life

Yehuda Amichai 


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.