Shlomo Artzi: Lyrics

translations by Daniel Rice

Shlomo Artzi

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July-August Heat (The Brigade) (chom yuli-ogust)

The July-August heat was very heavy
Afternoon, the brigade walk through the wadi
Write a page in a book, we're talking about war
Write down shivering wounded, that's normal

The youths are handsome, the summer endless
Aknin came to the brigade the champion of Kiryat Gat
Burned down barracks, fled to Beit Juvrin
The police are on his footsteps, only here can he rest a bit

What I remember I'm writing down
Two men without names pass by on stretchers
Recently pictures from there come back to me
In my hazy memory of today
A heavy screen of wars and delusions

July-August heat, one pinecone drops
A helicopter land I lie alone on the ground
When the helicopter vanishes I'm suddenly hungry
Dying to eat you at the mother base forever

I return on a train to you at your house
Close the room, even God won't come in
Suddenly your father comes in, look likes he's been crying
At the canal an entire brigade was ambushed

What I remember I'm writing down
Catch a cab to the discotheque
Whores on the fence, in my body only a burning ghost
I go to dance with soldiers dead in their hearts

Legend of 21 (Agadat Esrim v'Echad)

From Ticket to Luna Park
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Lyrics and Music: Shlomo Artzi (1989)

You were already 21,
In the sky a star twinkled for you.
At night your suffering grew,
By day you wore a mask.
If we knew how to live,
Within me, I am thankful that we didn't know how.
My father said: "I have seen in my life the time passing."

You were already 21,
Lots of cliches have been written about that
"I want to love,
I want to love,"
With that you broke down all the walls.
You were easily enticed into kisses,
Since during the nights of cold, you asked for warmth,
And sometimes when you were in an eternal loneliness,
Who did you sleep with?

A feeling comes to me in the evening, to be in a small place,
Couples passed by my eyes in the street, your hair was golden,
If there are still tears in my eyes,
I fled to my parents' house to sit and cry,
I fell asleep in my clothes,
And at 3:00 exactly,
I awoke from a nightmare.

The time passes,
My old father said "The time passes in flight..."
If I could only return
To the same things that I did from beginning to end.
I feel like taking a knapsack and travel, once more,
On a train flying high,
To where you journeyed.
When you were
21.

There were piles of love outside
You didn't touch them, you found yourself an excuse,
I am reminded of the two of you in the midst of the crowd,
You and my brother who was killed,
If I knew prayers
You would be here and that would help.
But you two remained
21,
Up to this day.

A feeling comes to me in the evening, to be in a small place,
You would grab a loved one and give up an old love,
If you only knew how to love,
In the middle of sex, there is a sudden loneliness,
My father the dreamer said:
"Love doesn't end in a day, only the lightning ends."

The time passes,
My dreaming father said: "The time passes in flight."
If I had returned...

21, 21
Your hair was true gold,
One war just ended,
And a second will soon begin.
What from then is like today?
The same hairstyle,
The same existential loneliness,
"Don't intervene," my old father said,
"The time will be filled in its passing."

A feeling comes to me in the evening, to be in a small place,
I enter, I go out into the street,
Your hair was golden,
If I only knew prayers,
I would pray to myself in bed sometimes,
I have four people in the world,
Watch over them for me.
And the time passes...

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