AMICHAI, YEHUDA (1924-2000, Israeli poet)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS AND REVISED TYPESCRIPTS OF SIX POEMS FROM HIS COLLECTION 'TIME', numbered here and in the printed version 65, 67, 68, 69,70 and 72, the manuscripts with light revisions, the typescripts with substantive revisions in another hand, six of the typescripts marked up for the printer (WITH SOME 20 REVISIONS BY HIS FRIEND TED HUGHES in his print hand in blue biro), some revising stages between the autograph and typescript versions and also between the two typescript versions for each poem, preserving reconsidered readings, 18 pages, in all including 6 pages of autograph manuscripts, folio and quarto [1970s]
'In this valley which many waters
have carved out in endless years
so that the light breeze may now
pass through it to cool my forehead,
I think about you. From the hills I hear
voices of men and machines wrecking and building...
But this valley is a hope
to start anew without having first to die,
To love without forgetting the other love,
And to be like this breeze
which passes through it now,
without being destined for it.'
The other poems are as follows:
(i) 65: 'The house in which I had many thoughts / When I was young, fell to pieces...'
(ii) 67: 'We walked together you and me / Like Abraham and his son Isac [sic]...'
(iii) 68: 'Small and fragile you stand in the rain, /A small target for rain drops in winter...'
(iv) 69: 'My son, in whose face there already is a sign / of first eagle-like daring, prefix to your life...'
(v) 72: 'My ex-pupil has become a police woman. / There she is standing at the crossroads in town:...'
Yehuda Amichai is rightly considered to be the foremost twentieth-century Israeli poet. This collection, Time, was translated by the author with Ted Hughes and published in 1979.
Ted Hughes wrote that Yehuda Amichai was 'the poet whose books I still open most often, most often take on a journey, most often return to when the whole business of writing anything natural, real and satisfying, seems impossible. The effect his poetry has on me is to give me my own life - to open it up somehow, to make it all available to me afresh, to uncover all kinds of riches in every moment of it, and to free me from my mental prisons...I see two main currents - the play of his metaphor or rather his worlds of experience and wisdom on the one hand and, on the other, oceanic feeling, the feeling he wields in the play of his metaphor and in the tone of his voice, the big music that accompanies his play.'
PROVENANCE: Yehuda Amichai through Ted Hughes.
REFERENCE: Yehuda Amichai, Selected Poems, edited by Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort, 2000.