Literature and Poetry/
Independence Day

Dan Almagor

If You Crown a King Over You

Feb 25, 2010

And in these days, there is no king over Israel

And all men act by their own free will

 

And the elderly men of Israel

Approached the prophet - Samuel

the Man of the Lord

Saying: "Please appoint on us

A king who shall rule us,

And we shall be like the nations abroad".

 

And he replied: "There are laws by which he must abide,

The king, who shall over you preside –

 

Your sons shall lead his chariot

And get his battle garb all set,

Your vineyard products he shall tax

And the king shall nothing – lack.

Levies and taxes, he shall impose

To build great castles for the king's repose.

So the king and all his men

Could fill the roads with merriment

With pomp and lots of pageantry

 

And you shall call out to the king

And he shall not say anything

 

All the elders of Israel lent their ears

As they came to Samuel to hear

The words of the Man of the Lord

Saying: "Please appoint on us

A king who shall rule us

And we shall be like the nations abroad"

And over them he did anoint

A king he chose and did appoint:

 

Their sons did lead his chariot

And got his battle garb all set,

The vineyard products he did tax

And the king did nothing – lack.

Levies and taxes, he shall impose

To build great castles for the king's repose.

So the king and all his men

Could fill the roads with merriment

With pomp and lots of pageantry

 

 

And then they cried out to the king –

But he didn't answer them a thing

 

All the elders of Israel

Came once again to Shmuel,

The Man of the Lord

And they said: "Please remove the king you appointed

Yes, the one – you had anointed

And we shall again be independent".

And he replied with indignance

"You have chosen a state - it's plain

And now - arriving to complain?"

 

And in those days, there is a state for Israel

And the state acts by its own free will

Greetings,

.... While I was recently editing my book for print, I came across a poem I had written in the second half of the 1950s, when the state was about nine years old, at the suggestion of Gideon Shemer (then Naomi's husband and director of the satirical theater Sambatyon).

 

The song was composed by Frank Peleg and sung by Shimon Israeli, Arik Einstein and Rachel Atias. Unfortunately, no recording or notes of the song have remained.

Perhaps it would interest you ...

 

By the way, today I recall the poem occasionally when I pass through the streets of Tel Aviv and see on many houses the amusing graffiti of Herzl, originator of the saying "If you want it," and below it the inscription: "If you do not want it? It's not necessary!"

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