1924

I was born in 1924: if I were a violin of the same age,

I would be one the best. As a wine I’d be first- rate

or completely sour. As a dog I’d be dead. As a book

I’d be just getting valuable or already out-of-date.

As a forest I’d be young; as a machine ridiculous.

But as a human being, I’m very tired.

I was born in 1924. When I think about mankind

I think only of those who were born the same year as I,

whose mothers lay in labor with mine,

in hospitals, unlit rooms, wherever.

Today, on my birthday, I’d like to say

a blessing over you,

you whose lives are weighed down by hopes and disappointments,

whose deeds grow less, and whose gods

more numerous–

you are all brothers of my hope, friends of my despair.

May you find lasting peace,

the living in their lives, the dead

in being dead.

And whoever remembers his childhood best,

he’s the winner,

if there are any winners.Yehuda Amichai

translated by Chana Bloch.