Shlomo Artzi's Lyrics

translations by Daniel Rice

Shlomo Artzi


Legend of 21 (Agadat Esrim v'Echad)

From Ticket to Luna Park

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


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


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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