Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Precision of Pain by Yehuda Amichai

The Precision of Pain

The precision of pain and the blurriness of joy. I'm thinking 
how precise people are when they describe their pain in a doctor's office.
Even those who haven't learned to read and write are precise:
"This one's a throbbing pain, that one's a wrenching pain,
this one gnaws, that one burns, this is a sharp pain
and that––a dull one. Right here. Precisely here,
yes, yes." Joy blurs everything. I've heard people say
after nights of love and feasting, "It was great,
I was in seventh heaven." Even the spaceman who floated
in outer space, tethered to a spaceship, could say only, "Great,
wonderful, I have no words."
The blurriness of joy and the precision of pain — 
I want to describe, with a sharp pain's precision, happiness
and blurry joy. I learned to speak among the pains.

(Translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld)

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