Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Yehuda Amichai

1924

I was born in 1924. If I were a violin my age
I wouldn’t be very good. As a wine I would be splendid
Or altogether sour. As a dog I would be dead. As a book
I would begin to be expensive or thrown out by now.
As a forest I would be young, as a machine ridiculous,
And as a human being I’m very tired.

I was born in 1924. When I think about humanity
I think just about those born in my year.
Their mothers gave birth with my mother,
Wherever they were, in hospitals or in dark flats.

On this day, my birthday, I would like
To say a great prayer for you,
Whose load of hopes and disappointments
Pulls your life downward,
Whose deeds diminish
And whose gods increase,
You are all brothers of my hope and companions of my despair.

May you find the right rest,
The living in their life, the dead in their death.

He who remembers his childhood better
Than others is the winner,
If there are any winners at all.

1924

Ik ben geboren in 1924. Als ik een viool was van mijn leeftijd
was ik niet een van de beste. Als wijn zou ik uitstekend zijn
of helemaal zuur. Als hond was ik al dood. Als boek
werd ik nu waardevol of zou ik al zijn weggegooid.
Als bos zou ik jong zijn, als machine lachwekkend
en als mens ben ik heel moe.

Ik ben geboren in 1924. Als ik denk aan de mensheid
denk ik alleen aan hen die in hetzelfde jaar zijn geboren als ik,
van wie de moeders tegelijk met mijn moeder in het kraambed lagen
waar dan ook, in ziekenhuizen of in schemerige kamers.

Op deze dag, mijn geboortedag, wil ik
een grote zegen over jullie uitspreken,
over jullie van wie het leven al doorbuigt
onder het gewicht van hoop en teleurstelling,
van wie de daden steeds minder worden
en de goden talrijker.
Jullie zijn allen mijn broeders in hoop, mijn vrienden in wanhoop.

Mogen jullie elk de juiste rust vinden,
de levenden in hun leven, de doden in hun dood.

En wie zich beter dan de anderen
zijn jeugd herinnert is winnaar
als er tenminste winnaars zijn.

1924

Close

1924

I was born in 1924. If I were a violin my age
I wouldn’t be very good. As a wine I would be splendid
Or altogether sour. As a dog I would be dead. As a book
I would begin to be expensive or thrown out by now.
As a forest I would be young, as a machine ridiculous,
And as a human being I’m very tired.

I was born in 1924. When I think about humanity
I think just about those born in my year.
Their mothers gave birth with my mother,
Wherever they were, in hospitals or in dark flats.

On this day, my birthday, I would like
To say a great prayer for you,
Whose load of hopes and disappointments
Pulls your life downward,
Whose deeds diminish
And whose gods increase,
You are all brothers of my hope and companions of my despair.

May you find the right rest,
The living in their life, the dead in their death.

He who remembers his childhood better
Than others is the winner,
If there are any winners at all.

1924

I was born in 1924. If I were a violin my age
I wouldn’t be very good. As a wine I would be splendid
Or altogether sour. As a dog I would be dead. As a book
I would begin to be expensive or thrown out by now.
As a forest I would be young, as a machine ridiculous,
And as a human being I’m very tired.

I was born in 1924. When I think about humanity
I think just about those born in my year.
Their mothers gave birth with my mother,
Wherever they were, in hospitals or in dark flats.

On this day, my birthday, I would like
To say a great prayer for you,
Whose load of hopes and disappointments
Pulls your life downward,
Whose deeds diminish
And whose gods increase,
You are all brothers of my hope and companions of my despair.

May you find the right rest,
The living in their life, the dead in their death.

He who remembers his childhood better
Than others is the winner,
If there are any winners at all.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère