Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dona Dona....

This one is for the little voice in TBs head...

I recently re-discovered a song I remember from my childhood. I remember so vividly listening to the record player so drawn to the simple tune and stirring words. I never really understood the meaning of the lyrics but somehow I they did something to me inside.
The song originally written in Yiddish was made popular in it's English Version by Joan Baez in the 1960s.
It was written in 1942 and one can only imagine what the author had in mind.
However I think its words are timeless.

On a wagon bound for market There's a calf with a mournful eye.
High above him there's a swallow
Winging swiftly through the sky.

Chorus: How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer's night.
Dona, dona, dona...

"Stop complaining," said the farmer, "Who told you a calf to be?
Why don't you have wings to fly away
Like the swallow so proud and free?"


Calves are easily bound and slaughtered Never knowing the reason why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
Like the swallow has learned to fly.

How many people out there are calves? So easily abused?
How many children never grow wings...

How dare the farmer demand that she become a swallow?
How can we not be compassionate to the little calves bound in the wagon?

How the winds continue laughing..oblivious of all this..

Then the paradox at the end...making an impossibly hopeful statement..for no matter how much a calf treasures freedom she can never be a swallow and fly...if she has no wings...

But the spirit can always fly.
I've always loved these Pesukim in Tehillim..
בָּר֥וּךְ יְהוָ֑ה שֶׁלֹּ֥א נְתָנָ֥נוּ טֶ֝֗רֶף לְשִׁנֵּיהֶֽם
נַפְשֵׁ֗נוּ כְּצִפֹּ֥ור נִמְלְטָה֮ מִפַּ֪ח יֹ֫וקְשִׁ֥ים הַפַּ֥ח נִשְׁבָּ֗ר וַאֲנַ֥חְנוּ נִמְלָֽטְנוּ
Blessed is the Lord, Who did not give us as prey for their teeth.
Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunters' snare; the snare broke, and we escaped.

Our soul can a matter what situation we're in...
When one is moved to freedom..then the calf can sprout wings...

and oil can last for eight days as well...

There's no stopping a sincere desire to be free...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful singing... powerful points.

(A tiny little voice in my head is wondering though... what makes a seemingly deeply, passionately jewish/ "real", frum, David-o-lake say "it's ok to listen to women sing") really - am curious.)

And thanks for opening comments once in a while...


December 19, 2008 2:49 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I don't say anything.. It's something I grew up with and been desensitized to...and theres some grey area there to allow my intense love of music to creep into and drown out the little voice in my head...

December 19, 2008 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

appreciate your honesty and response.


December 21, 2008 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah... I only now realized the new addition/"option"... I actually enjoyed the second clip very much too. Thank you.

December 21, 2008 12:04 AM  

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