J U L Y 1 9 9 8
I STUDIED LOVEby Yehuda Amichai
Translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld
Hear Chana Bloch read this poem (in RealAudio).
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Also by Yehuda Amichai:
After Auschwitz (1999)
Also by Chana Bloch:
I studied love in my childhood in my childhood synagogue
in the women's section with the help of the women behind the partition
that locked up my mother with all the other women and girls.
But the partition that locked them up locked me up
on the other side. They were free in their love while I remained
locked up with all the men and boys in my love, my longing.
I wanted to be over there with them and to know their secrets
and say with them, "Blessed be He who has made me
according to his will." And the partition
a lace curtain white and soft as summer dresses, and that curtain
swaying to and fro with its rings and its loops,
lu-lu-lu loops, Lulu, lullings of love in the locked room.
And the faces of women like the face of the moon behind the clouds
or the full moon when the curtain parts: an enchanted
cosmic order. At night we said the blessing
over the moon outside, and I
thought about the women.
Yehuda Amichai is a leading poet in Israel, where his book Open Closed Open was just published.
Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; July 1998; I Studied Love; Volume 282, No. 1; page 76.