Two weeks ago i went to the market place in Tel Aviv and saw Miri Aloni, so much older, but still with long pale blond hair singing . She was friendly, inviting, down to earth, acting as though she was not an iconic Israeli singer who many see as the very essence of Israeli song and poetry turned to songs.
This song has more meaning for me because i live just around the corner from the house where the poetess Tirza Atar had lived with her poet father, one of Israel’s greatest poets, Nathan Alterman and her mother , Rachel Marcus,who was a great theater actress .
I walk my dogs down the boulevard and look across at the sign that reads “Here lived Nathan Alterman, Rachel Marcus and Tirza Atar” and my heart fills with pride and hope for a future less melancholy than how Tirza Atar ended, falling from a window at a young age leaving behind her children’s books and poems that have been turned to songs i had often listened to while seeking someone to understand my sad moments of solitude amidst the lively loud busy city of Tel Aviv, so full of memorials for poets and painters and writers..
This particular sad song had been written by the poet for her father who had passed away ..i can strongly identify with the words and find comfort knowing someone feels similar sentiments of sadness and loss.
ביצוע: מירי אלוני Miri Aloni singing
מילים: תרצה אתר words by Tirtza Atar
Translated from Hebrew by Seagull L.
כבר ערב, it’s already evening
האופק אדום ויגע, the horizon is red and tired
אתה בוודאי לא יודע, you probobly do not know
אתה בוודאי לא שומע,you probobly can not hear
שהערב that tonight
ערב חג. is the eve of a holiday
כבר ערב, it’s already evening
העיר אורותיה הדליקה, the city lights turned on
צמרות אשליה הסמיקה, the top of the trees blush
כן, חג יש בעיר ואני כאן yes, there is a holiday in the city and i am here
לצעדך. for your foot steps
עיר חמה ושוקקת a warm and busy city
ריבועי זהביה מדלקת the golden squares are lit
ולפתע צמרותיה שמטה and suddenly the tops of the trees are bowed down
כי אתה because you
לא איתה. you are not with her.
שוב ערב, once again evening
סביב זיקוקים וירח around her fireworks and a moon
שטים על העיר ושמיה, float upon the city and her sky
אולי רק אתה היודע maybe only you know
מה קרה כאן what happened here
ומתי… and when
כן, ערב yes , evening
שיכור משמחה ומבכי drunk from joy and from sorrow
וכל נשמתי רק אליך and all my soul is only towards you
לדעת שאלה חייך to know that this is your life
שעודך… that you are still
שאולי… that maybe
עיר חמה ושוקקת… a warm and busy city
כבר לילה, it’s already night time
העיר נרדמה על בניה, the city falls asleep with her sons
בקרן ירח דומע with a moon light beam weeping
תלוי על כלונס מתנועע,hanging upon a moving stake
נהם רוח the wind growls
רחש חול. the sound of sand
כן, לילה, yes, night
השקט עגול ורוגע, the silence is round and calming
שלם ועמוק ויודע complete and deep and knowing
את כל הדברים , כי עיניה all the matters because the eyes
של העיר of the city
אומרות הכל. says it all
והעיר השותקת and the silent city
לכבודך כוכביה מדלקת, in your honour lighting stars
איזה שקט what silence
איזו עיר what a sad city .