26 May 2011

The Guest- Ha'Oreach


אם בשער יש אורח, שנחת מעבר ים
מה נציע לאורח, בבואו משם

,טנא ירוק, פרח לבן
יין אדום, פת במלח
זה מה שיש, שב איתנו כאן

שב איתנו, זה הבית
תריס פתוח למדבר
שב איתנו כבן בית
לא כהלך זר

,טנא ירוק, פרח לבן
יין אדום, פת במלח
זה מה שיש, שב איתנו כאן

,והלב הזה הפתי
שאף פעם לא יחכים
. שוב נדלק ושוב הריע אל המרחקים

, טנא ירוק, פרח לבן
יין אדום, פת במלח
זה מה שיש, שב איתנו כאן

, האורחים הולכים הביתה
תריס פתוח שוב נסגר
,השולחן נעור וריק
.וזה מה שנשאר

,טנא ירוק, פרח לבן
יין אדום, פת במלח
זה מה שיש, שב איתנו כאן

The Guest
Words and music by Naomi Shemer

If there is a guest at the gate
That landed from overseas
What will be offered to the guest?
At his arrival from there?
A green basket, a white flower
Red wine, a piece of bread with salt
That is what there is
Sit with us here
Sit with us, that’s the home
An open shutter to the desert
Sit with us as a house’s son
Not as a stranger
A green basket…
And this fool heart
That will never get wiser
Starts again and roams
To the distances.
A green basket…
Guests go home
An open shutter closes again
The table cleared and empty
And that’s what’s left.
A green basket…

The essence of this 1984 radio song is the concept of home. It does not
matter how small or modest it is («that is what there is» and «the [only
one] table remains empty») or that there is nothing special to offer to the
guest. Even if the guest may end up insulting the house by leaving, after
he has been treated as a son of the house (his heart is «foolish» for
«roaming to the distances»), the closing sentence of the last strophe
summarizes the song: «that’s what’s left», a home.
The images in the song’s lyrics are recognizable to every Israeli as an
image of the motherland. It is clear that the point is not the
simple house in the desert, but rather a metaphor for having a home, a
mythical home.
When analyzing «The Guest», it must be taken into account that the
song was written by Naomi Shemer for a communal singing-oriented pop
band, Hakol ‘Over Habibi, a context closely related to Israeli nationalism,
as explained before. With this in mind, it is understood that this home in
the desert is something more than what it might seem. Thus, the house is a
metaphor to which any listener can relate.
The ritualized context of communal singing gatherings gives the
songs’ lyrics a mythical nature. The idea of the humble house in the desert
is an idea to share with all those strangers who will listen to this song,
The house must become a metaphorical one, a myth that will unite
all those who accept it. And what is understood from the lyrics is that the
mythical home exists. It may be modest, but it does exist

1 comment:

Jewlearn-it said...

This is one of my favorite songs ever!