Doubts and Loves

When I know that my own words are inadequate to express something I turn to poetry.

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) is Israel’s most well known modern poet.  He immigrated to Israel from Germany in 1936 and as a young man fought in the Israeli war of Independence.  But later in life Amichai came to understand the political conflict between Palestine and Israel not as a war between right and wrong but rather, with writers like Amos Oz, as a tragic war between right and right.  In 2012, in his “Loose canon”  column in The Guardian, Anglican priest Giles Fraser wrote: “Poets understand tragedy better than politicians. For what makes tragedy tragic is not that the situation is sad (there are other words for that) but that it is where the sloganising binaries of right and wrong no longer function as a useful guide.  Which is why making peace means leaving the protected place where we are right.”

I first heard “The Place Where We are Right” when Bishop Porter Taylor read it at a clergy conference that I attended more than a decade ago.   It’s one of the most powerful poems I’ve ever heard.  I think I’ve posted it in a Daily Cup before and it seems apt to share it again today:

The Place Where We Are Right
by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.

And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

המקום בו אנו צודקים
מאת יהודה עמיחי

מן המקום שבו אנו צודקים
לא יצמחו לעולם
.פרחים באביב

המקום שבו אנו צודקים
הוא קשה ורמוס
.כמו חצר
אבל ספקות ואהבות עושים
את העולם לתחוח
.כמו חפרפרת, כמו חריש

ולחישה תשמע במקום
שבו היה הבית
.אשר נחרב


On Monday,



This entry was posted in The Rev. Jim Quigley, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Doubts and Loves

  1. Maria says:

    Powerful, Jim. Thank you. Are the lines beneath the same poem in Hebrew?

  2. Monica Welch says:

    Thank you.

  3. Janis Grogan says:


  4. Sara says:

    and the whisper must be love, thank you Jim.

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