Yehuda Amichai

In The Middle Of This Century

In the middle of this century we turned to each other With half faces and full eyes like an ancient Egyptian picture And for a short while. I stroked your hair In the opposite direction to your journey, We called to each other, Like calling out the names of towns Where nobody stops Along the route. Lovely is the world rising early to evil, Lovely is the world falling asleep to sin and pity, In the mingling of ourselves, you and I, Lovely is the world. The earth drinks men and their loves Like wine, To forget. It can't. And like the contours of the Judean hills, We shall never find peace. In the middle of this century we turned to each other, I saw your body, throwing shade, waiting for me, The leather straps for a long journey Already tightening across my chest. I spoke in praise of your mortal hips, You spoke in praise of my passing face, I stroked your hair in the direction of your journey, I touched your flesh, prophet of your end, I touched your hand which has never slept, I touched your mouth which may yet sing. Dust from the desert covered the table At which we did not eat But with my finger I wrote on it The letters of your name.

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