Donna, donna: Winging swiftly through the sky

For Adam

I was 20 when I first heard Donovan singing this wonderful song. I was told that it was a song of the Warsaw Ghetto. In fact, it was composed in 1940, in New York. In 1960, Joan Baez recorded it, then, Donovan added to the fame with his 1965 recording. A few years ago, my friend, the philosopher Mihail Radu Solcan, blessed be his memory, wrote me that in the German Wikipedia is is suggested that Donna could be an abreviation from Adonai: “As face un salt de la Buber la “Donna Donna”. Idis este o limba cu multe subtilitati, care mie evident imi scapa. Pe pagina in germana a Wikipediei scrie ca “Dona” ar fi o forma scurta de la “Adonai”. Adica pe romaneste ar fi “Doamne, Doamne”. Suna insa prea patetic asa spus in romaneste. In idis ar fi doar o aluzie fina. Foarte interesant este ca pagina vietnameza a Wikipediei are si o versiune in franceza. Nu prea are mare legatura cu textul idis (asa sunt traducerile frantuzesti !). Este vorba despre un copil. Cand creste ‘il a decouvert la vie / Les amours decues, la faim et la peur’.”

On a wagon, bound for market/There’s a calf with a mournful eye/High above him, theres a swallow/Winging swiftly through the sky

How the winds are laughingThey laugh with all their mightLaugh and laugh the whole day through/And half the summers night/Donna donna

Stop complaining, said the farmer/Who told you a calf to be?/Why dont you have wings to fly with/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

Donna donna

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