I came across this very short poem – only six lines – in an anthology. The book has been on my shelf for quite a while and every now and then I pick it up and flick through at random. One day, the page fell open at this exquisite poem by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, translated from the Hebrew by Azila Talit Reisenberger. Written as an adult, in this scant lines Amichai captures the ongoing love of child for parent, caught in a tiny everyday familiar detail.Said Ted Hughes of Amichai, “I’ve become more than ever convinced that Amichai is one of the biggest, most essential, most durable poetic voices of this past century–one of the most intimate, alive and human, wise, humorous, true, loving, inwardly free and resourceful, at home in every human situation. One of the real treasures.”
Amichai died in 2000. His poems, written in Hebrrew, have been translated into 40 languages. All poetry is political, Amichai told the Paris Review: “This is because real poems deal with a human response to reality, and politics is part of reality, history in the making. Even if a poet writes about sitting in a glass house drinking tea, it reflects politics.”
This poem is subject to copyright restrictions. Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.
The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.
Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
‘Poems’ by Ruth Stone
‘Cloughton Wyke 1’ by John Wedgwood Clarke
‘We Needed Coffee But…’ by Matthew Welton
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘My Father’ by Yehuda Amichai https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4cn via @SandraDanby