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The Precision of Pain and the Blurriness of Joy

Yehuda Amichai and Chana Kronfeld, translated from the Hebrew by Chana Bloch

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, and this one’s
a wrenching pain, and this one gnaws, this one burns and
this is a sharp pain and this
is 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. And even the space man who floated
in outer space, tethered to a space ship, could only say, 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.

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