I, May I Rest in Peace
translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld
I, may I rest in peace – I, who am still living, say,
May I have peace in the rest of my life.
I want peace right now while I’m still alive.
I don’t want to wait like that pious man who wished for one leg
of the golden chair of Paradise, I want a four-legged chair
right here, a plain wooden chair. I want the rest of my peace now.
I have lived out my life in wars of every kind: battles without
and within, close combat, face-to-face, the faces always
my own, my lover-face, my enemy-face.
Wars with the old weapons – sticks and stones, blunt axe, words,
dull ripping knife, love and hate,
and wars with newfangled weapons – machine gun, missile,
words, land mines exploding, love and hate.
I don’t want to fulfill my parents’ prophecy that life is war.
I want peace with all my body and all my soul.
Rest me in peace.
Hear Chana Block and Chana Kronfeld read their translation: I, may I rest in peace
From Open Closed Open, by Yehuda Amichai
Copyright © 2000 by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld