Friday, November 29, 2013

Monique Morelli - Villon - Ballad of Blois contest

Original Title: "Ballade du concours de Blois"
I die of thirst beside the fountain
Hot as fire, and trembling tooth to tooth
In my own country, I am in a distant land
Near a blaze, shiver all burning
Bare as a worm, dressed like a president,
I laugh in tears and wait without hope
Taking my comfort back in sad despair
I rejoyce and have no pleasure at all
Powerful I am, without strength or power,
Welcomed gladly and spurned by each.

Nothing for me is sure but the uncertain matter
Obscure except what is completely obvious
Doubt I don't make except in certainties
Knowledge holds to a sudden accident
I win everything and remain loser
At daybreak, say: "God give you good evening!"
Lying on the wrong side I am greatly afraid of falling
I have means and if I have none of it
Expecting inheritance and of man I'm no heir
Welcomed gladly and spurned by each.

Taking care of nothing if I go through a lot of trouble
to acquire goods to which I'm no claimant
Who compliments me the most is the one who hurts me the most
And who is more true then tells more lies about me
My friend is the one who makes me understand
that a white swan is a black crow
And who harms me, believes he helps me provide
Truth, lies, today all is the same to me
I remember everything, can't imagine anything
Welcomed gladly and spurned by each.

Lenient Prince, may it please you to know
that I understand a lot and have no wit nor knowledge
Biased I am, alike to every law
What do I know more? What! Redeem what I’ve in pawn,
Welcomed gladly, and spurned by each.

Jean Ferrat - Aragon - What would I be without you?

Original Title: "Que serais-je sans toi?"
What would I be without you who came to meet me
What would I be without you but an heart sleeping in the wood
But this hour stopped at the dial of the watch
What would I be without you but this faltering

I've learned everything from you about the human things
And I've seen the world your way from then on.
I've learned everything from you: how you drink from fountains
How one reads in the sky, the distant stars
how from the passer-by who sings, you take up his song
I've learned everything from you up to the meaning of shiver

What would I be without you who came to meet me
What would I be without you but an heart sleeping in the wood
But this hour stopped at the watch's dial
What would I be without you but this faltering

I have learned everything from you as far as I'm concerned
That it's clear at noon, that a sky can be blue
That happiness isn't just a tavern's oil lamp
You took me by the hand in that modern hell
Where man doesn't know anymore what it's to be two
You took me by the hand like an happy lover

What would I be without you who came to meet me
What would I be without you but an heart sleeping in the wood
But this hour stopped at the watch's dial
What would I be without you but this faltering

Who talks of happiness often has sad eyes
Isn't it a sob of disappointment
A broken string at the guitarist's fingers
And nevertheless I tell you that happiness exists
Elsewhere than in dreams, elsewhere than up in the skies
Earth, Earth, here comes those unknown harbours

What would I be without you who came to meet me
What would I be without you but an heart sleeping in the wood
But this hour stopped at the dial of the watch
What would I be without you but this faltering

another version:

Sung by Marc Ogeret:

All poems written by Louis Aragon

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Léo Ferré - Verlaine - Soul does it remember

Text: Paul Verlaine
Original title: "Âme te souvient-il"
Soul, does it remember?
Soul, does it remember at the bottom of paradise
From Auteuil's station and trains of long ago
bringing you everyday, coming from the chapel?
So long ago already! Yet how I remember
after the first words of good morning and welcome
My old arm in yours we were leaving that Auteuil
And under the trees filled with a kind music
Our discussion was often metaphysical
O your strong arguments, your coalman faith
Not without some tendency, O so frank! to deny
But left so quickly at the first step of doubt!
And then we came back, more than slow, by road
A bit of the long way, at my place, at ours rather
to have lunch of hardly anything, lightly smoking quick and early
And hurry a long time a vague work
My poor child, your voice in the Bois de Boulogne!
Christine Sèvres' version:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jacques Bertin - I would like a strange and very calm feast

Original Title: "Je voudrais une fête étrange et très calme"
I'd like a strange and very calm party
with musicians, silent and sweet
It'd be during an evening of fall, a sunday
A very slow merry-go-round, a fine music

Naked women sitting on the white stone
are bending down to tie the shoe laces of children
Children in ribbons and who are pulling on white kites
Some women are humming a little, their head tilts

I would want eternal falls of leaves
Love in a sob, a light smile
Like we do between our fingers glide blades of grass
Women quietly distraught, lying down.

Streamer sailing like prayers
A danse in the grass and the grey sky very low
slowly, and the white and the red and the grey and the green
and threads of the Virgin are hanging on our arms

And to die at the knees of a very soft woman
Swings come and go, calls
Slowly on her heavy belly lay my head
And talk solemnly of the bodies, the day is going away
Laces, tulles, in the grass, a breeze
In the bodices hedges, nylons hang
Hair swinging softly, you see grey necks
and the arms send back, vaguely heavy balloons.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maxime and Catherine Le Forestier - The sentimental education

Original Title: "L'éducation sentimentale"

Tonight in the mist
We'll go, my brunette
pick up oaths
This wild flower
that wreaks havoc
In children hearts
For you, my princess,
I'd make braids out of it
And in your hair
These oaths, my beauty,
will turn you cruel
toward your lovers

Tomorrow at dawn
We'll go once again
glean in the fields
pick up promisses
Flowers of tenderness
And of feeling
And up the hill
In the waterfowls
You will lay down
Into my arms, my dear,
You will give yourself

It's at twillight,
When the dragonfly
falls asleep in the swamp
that we will have to, my neighbor,
leave the hill
And quickly come back
Don't say a word, my brunette,
Not even to the moon,
And I, on my own,
will go single-handed,
I will remain quiet
I won't say a word

Tonight in the mist
We'll go, my brunette
pick up oaths
This wild flower
that wreaks havoc
In children hearts
For you, my princess,
I'd make braids out of it
And in your hair
These oaths, my beauty,
will turn you cruel
toward your lovers

Saturday, November 23, 2013

La Tordue - Aragon - The rose and the reseda

Modified translation from (by Yoshie Furuhashi)

Original Title: "La rose et le réséda"
The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
Both loved the beauty
Imprisoned by soldiers
Which climbed the ladder?
And which stood guard below?

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn'?
What matters the name of
This light on their steps?
that one was of the church
And the other balked from it?

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
Both were faithful
with their lips, hearts, arms
And both said that she will
live, time will tell

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
When the wheat is under the hail
Fool who is fussy
Fool who think of his little quarrels
In the heart of the common combat?

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
From the height of the citadel
The sentinel shot
Twice and one staggers
the other falls who will die

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
They are in prison
Who has the sadest pallet
Who freezes more then the other
Who prefers the rats?

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
A rebel is a rebel
Two sobs make a single knell
And when the cruel dawn arrives
They pass on

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
Repeating the name of the beauty
Neither of the two betrayed
And their blood runs red
Same color same vividness

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
It runs, and runs, and mingles
Into the earth it loved
So in the new season
Muscat grapes would ripen

The one who believed in heaven
The one who didn't
One runs and the other flies
From Brittany or Jura
And raspberries or plums
Crickets will sing again
Flute or cello, tell the story of
This double love that burnt
The lark and the swallow
The rose and the reseda

The poem said by Aragon himself in 1943:

All poems written by Louis Aragon

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Monique Morelli - Pierre de Ronsard - The drunkard's dream

This one always make me think of Bosch

Original Title: "Le rêve de l'ivrogne"
I see here, I see there
I see thousand horned beasts
Thousand kids in the streets
From one comes out a big bull
On the other hops a young goat
One has the horns of a satyr
And from the belly of the other pulls
a thousand revolutions crocodile
I see towns and towers
I see some red and some green
Look at them there! I see them covered
with sweets and candied peas
I see some are dead, I see some are alive
I see some, look at them! that look like
the wheats that tremble under the wind

I catch sight of a camp of armed dwarves
I see some that are not developed
Truncated of thighs and legs
And if they have the eyes burning
At the hollow of the stomach are sitting
I see fifty of them, I see six of them
that are bellyless, and if they have a head
Appalling with a big crest

Here comes two clouds all full
with Moors that have no hands
Nor body and have the faces
alike to those of wild cats
Ones carry goats feet,
And the others only have on lipe
that alone paddles and inside
they have no jaw nor teeth

One is going late, the other gallops
One rushes foward onto the croup
Of an unbridled centaur
And the other guided by a giant
Wearing a bell on his forehead
Through the air rides a genette
One on his back loads a calf
The other in his hand holds a hammer
One with a sullen look
Arms his fist with a felling axe
One carries a javelin, the other a trident
And the other a brand all glowing

Some are riding cranes
And the others turtles
Going to hunt with the gods
I see the good Father happy
that is turning into hundred news
I see some that have no brain
And make a non alike heap
So to want to beat the sun
And to enclose it in the cave
Of St Patrick or of Averne
I see his sister defending him
I see the whole sky splitting
And the earth become cracked
And the charos threatening them

I see hundred thousand young satyres
Having young goats dewclaws
Scaring thousand naiads
I see the dryads dance
among the forests stamping on their feet,
And now combing their hair again
Then go swimming in the fountains
There! Those clouds full of hail
Predict to me that Jupiter
Is vexed by me

Here comes the lightning
Do you hear doing battle
The belly of a cloud?
I saw, I saw ! I saw the fire,
I saw the thunderstorm and the thunder
Smashes me against the earth, all dead

All poems written by Ronsard

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jacques Brel - Fernand

Slightly modified translation from

To think that Fernand is dead
To think that he's dead, Fernand
To think that I'm alone behind
To think that he's alone in front
He, in his last coffin
Me, in the haze
He, in his hearse
And me, in my desert
In front there's only a white horse
Behind there's just me crying
To think there's not even wind
To shake my flowers
I, if I were the good Lord
I think I'd feel some guilt
To think that now it's raining
To think that Fernand is dead

To think that we are going through Paris
In the very ealy morning
To think that we are going through Paris
And it looks like Berlin
You, you, you don't know, you're sleeping
But it's a heartbreak
To have to go away
While Paris is still asleep
As for me, I'm dying to
wake some people up
I would make up a family for you
Just for your funeral
And then if I were the good Lord
I think I wouldn't be proud
I know, you do what you can,
But there is the way to do it

You know, I'll come back
I'll come back, often
In this fucking meadow
Where you have to rest
In the summer I'll give you some shade
We'll drink silence
To Constance, who doesn't
Give a damn about your shadow
And then adults are so stupid,
They'll probably manage to create a war for us
Then I'll come for good
To sleep in your graveyard
And now, good Lord
You will have a good laugh
And now, good Lord
Now: I will cry

Léo Ferré - Verlaine - Hope shines like a wisp of straw in the stable

Original Title: "L'espoir luit comme un brin de paille dans l'étable"
Hope shines like a wisp of straw in the stable
What do you fear of the drunken wasp of its mad flight?
See, the sun always rises in clouds in some hole.
Why didn't you fall asleep, elbow on the table?

Poor pale soul, at least this water from the well frozen
Drink it. Then sleep afterward. There, see, I'm staying,
And I'd would pamper the dreams of your nap
And you would hum like a cradled child

Noon strikes. For goodness' sake, go away madam.
He's asleep. It's surprising how women's steps
Resonates to the pour souls' brain.

Noon strikes. I had (the plants) watered in the bedroom.
Go, sleep! Hope shines like a stone in a cavity.
Ah, when the september's roses will blossom again !

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nicole Louvier - I imagine that over your birth

Original Title: "J'imagine que sur ta naissance"
I imagine that over your birth
A fairy was watching
When we make acquaintance
Birds were singing
I imagine how much I imagine
When you were waiting for me
The face between your fine hands
Sometimes you cried

The fairy was leading me in a dream
In the gardens where you walked
Tonight it's not a lie
Today you are there, it's true, true

I imagine that I'm lucky
Because the fairy loved me
For bringing me face to face with you
when you were passing

I imagine, how much I imagine
if I were to lose you
How easy it'd be for me
to close my shutters

Through you the sweetness that lives in me
Through you the winds and the forest
I do not dare to believe you exist
And though you are here, it's true, true

I know I will be lucky if you stay here
But I know that I trust
The fairy will keep watching.

All the rest does not matter
If you die one day
It won't be a long absence
Will follow you always.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jacques Bertin - The Degenerates

Original Title: "Les Tarés"

I would tell you, I would tell you
With my usual care about forms
"Let's love Madam!"
Or with the frozen gaze
Or again because I would certaintly be merciless
I would whisper with an imperceptible voice
"Insult me"
You would comply like a solo in a baroq score
We would despise one another of course without believing it
To reach that
It'd be good

We would give us the impression of coming out right ouf the memoirs
of a couple of notorious freaks in Locarno
In nighteen hundred twenty three.

I would be inflexible and pale like a Carpathian prince
having fled in the wagons of the white russians, the hell of the Bolsheviks
After having played piano, badly for that matter, in the burning winter palace
With the last band of night owls and hysterics

You would be the former mistress of a latino-bulgarian party head
The day when he would have had been killed, you would have had been on vacation in Ibiza
Then you would have become receptionist in the great Post of Tarbes
and girlfriend of the minister of Arabic cults.

Of a scaringly dishonesty, suffice to say, you'd would be
But so fragile.
Noone has ever loved me would be your motto, people would believe it.
You would have on your face of early hours effects of frights
Like towns
And in your head vast deserts where melancholy would make islands

Me with my silences long like stations' quays.
covered by scathing and sweet words like great fast trains
I would be suspected of having I do not know what great rare talent
The oracle would be expected to talk
And he would wait for the rumor to stop

Never withdrawing in front of those big wallets
with their calm mornings look
You would throw yourself in the last stage of your tour of the future
A real mariage with a gifted énarque very dull very stupid
and very brave on whom you will cheat with young bragging gays
and old men from the Académie

You will reappear every now and then, demanding that I make myself clear
You will provide arguments like: "Prove me that you do not love me"
We would then subject ourselves to the penultimate insults, pathetics
Saving ourselves always a last one for next time.

I'd act ruthlessly because I'll have to act ruthlessly
I'd sublet you in public auctions and you will like that
Forward for the scenaros, the low-angle shots, the mystical obscenities
And we would lock ourselves like every time in our right fix

Twisted, twisted as you are
One day that we were giving each others forfeits
And I commanded you to show yourself naked at the opera
You more subtly demanded from me, that I commit to
write a song for people to see
how I am and do not believe it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hélène Martin - The man sentenced to death

Original Title: "Le Condamné à mort"
Text: Jean Genet

On my neck without armor and without hate, my neck
Let my hand lighter and more solemn than a widow
brush under my collar, without your heart to be moved
Let your teeth lay their wolf's smile

Oh come, my beautiful sun, Oh come my Spanish night,
Come in my eyes that will be dead tomorrow
Come, open my door, bring me your hand
Lead me far from here to wander in our mind

The sky can awake, the stars florish
Nor the flowers sigh, and of the meadows the black grass
welcome the dew where the morning is going to drink
The church tower can ring: I alone will die.

Oh come my sky of rose, Oh my blond basket!
Visit in your night your man sentenced to death.
Tear your flesh away, kill, climb, bite,
but come! Lay your cheek against my round head

We hadn't finished to talk about love
We hadn't finished to smoke our gitanes
We may wonder why the courts sentence
An assassin so beautiful that he makes the day grow pale

Love come on my mouth ! Love open your doors!
Cross the corridors, come down, walk lightly,
Fly in the stairs, more supple than a shepherd
More carried by the air than a dead leave's flight.

Oh go through the walls: if you have to walk on the edge
of the roofs, of the oceans: Cover yourself with light,
make use of threat, make use of prayer
But come, oh my frigate, one hour before my death.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jacques Bertin - Hands

Original Title: "Des Mains"

Hands to leave to the ocean
like hair or like life
Beautiful hands on the page or the skin
Beautiful hands, hands of nobleness
Hands like are all hands

Hands like night lights
in the shadow being born, coming and going
Hands of linen maids
Hands like watching over, hands of mothers

Hands digging furrows in the shadowless life
Hands blindly following a passion
Hands to build a house like my father
Hands like crowds of hands coming to give me the hand

Hands like crows of hands calling for hope and running water
Hands like herds of hands going along the bank
and welcoming you in your limitless tomorrow

Hands tracing the signs of forgiveness
and then looking for themselves like words of abnegation
Hands like sails to leave very far
Hands like sails to leave far, far away
With children's eyes in the horizon far, far away
Hands for my love far away
Hands to bring love back to reason
And the vagabond home

Jacques Bertin - Threat

Original Title: "Menace"

In an air-conditioned office maybe there would have been
a failure in the calculation of the basic goods count
or a disease thrown in the food chain
by a powerless accountant

An almost minimal damage would be enough or that breaks
an extremely flexible rod or a mirror.
A sign in the sky would be enough, a motionless bird
or next to nothing different in the intimacy of the air.

It'll be around noon, there will be a big silence
and right away there will be a long shout of a woman
Like coming out of a damaged car in a rainy decor
Your death would have been announced on the television.

It'd suddenly and simply be too late
Too late for everything, for the anger and for the scream.
Too late for the flight and too late for the revolt
Too late for the last boat and for the fight and for life.

Light is going out everywhere, the phones are ringing.
A nice poisonous wind is blowing in the deserted hospitals.
You find yourselves affected in clusters and you die.
An uncontrollable reaction propagates a gas in the green sky.

The misery lifts its muzzle you throw yourselves on the roads.
For the big scene of exodus which this time will end badly.
There are no more shelter at the end of the road, no more road,
no more front direction, no more march to follow, no more directions.

Ah you are going faster and faster most probably
To Lyon or to New York in big impassive planes
Thrown from aseptic chapels by fabricated voices
Misery you visit it in clubs in exotic countries.

In all the bourgeois flats that have the look of theatre stages
where everything goes through the filter of velvet and of convention.
We handle the silverware, the witticism, the capital
and the concept and most of all without ever almost raise the voice.

The bourgeoisie ruling crêpe paper on its realm.
Sure of itself in its technology, of its cloth ears
We don't know really where we are going but no matter
when you get hold of the role you improvise and Godspeed!

The words are empty that you are reciting. The theater
gives in the rigging on the sky from above.
It's a sort of ghost ship that has in its holds
a few billions of negros that are scared

Fake world, Oh world without reason, fragile world!
Oh that lives incredibly from its fragility!
That finds in its flight a sort of relative balance
And the abyss like a belly attracts the mad ones who are going to sell their souls there.

Captive world. Oh world without love, fragile world!
Good people who let yourself be drained.
I want to spread terror like a patient tide.
There is little time left to save the world and save you.

There is little time left for the holly wrath.
I see you like a horse with broken legs
Mad eyes, looking to get up, looking for help
in the empty sky around him which turns and in his head impaled.

People Ah you do not believe much in love nor in insolence.
If I say people why are you turning round yourself?
Who is the one I'm designating with this term?
The revolt looks to you a business of fanatics or spoiled children.

But there is like a dirty disease in the joy
Like a trust crisis in the quality of tap water.
Maybe the fruits of the heart are treated, a doubt will always remain.
Suddenly the suspicion is settling and here you are run through by fright.

Terror I want, terror I want to spread
like a contribution of blood in the tired body
Holy wars everywhere, you had been entrusted with weapons
What have you done of them? Remember, what have you done of them?

Say, what have you done with the word that its a glowing ember?
You take it fully in your hand. You carry the fire.
In the exhausted lands, in the bad wounds,
In the bad sleeps or on the eyes of the people you want to love.

I'm going to carry the war in the papers to the old humanism,
Weary, becoming sloppy in the stagnant water of chronicles and marshes.
Little feudal lords, the parapet you certainly never pass the head through
We betray kindly behind the bags of letters to the Editor pilled up.

We need words carrier with steel tracks in the head
to lead in the valley that distraugth crowd of young people.
God protects them and God guides them and God loves them
They have made home the old world corrupted with a burning bush.

Words, to deal blows because it's high time, word.
The truth, the truth as if life depended upon it.
Word, to open a territory with fertile wounds.
O word! Before the season advances.

Tomorrow there is a virus manufactured by accident.
Boats not arriving anymore.
A bulb that snaps in the final control room.
A bomb too much in the central magma

I'm telling you it's time.
This world is in this notebook we are closing
with a weary gesture and that we are crushing like an heart
Look at your last beautiful magnificient plane taking off.

It's going to roam in the suburb of the "why how".
This world tell yourself we'll forget about it very quickly
Like in a block-calendar a number among a hundred.
This world is already nothing more but a miserable graphic

In which the eye and reason are looking for what one could see in it.
Now that the book is closing feel that major void.
The sky is deserted. The earth rustles with out of tune shouts.
Let rise here those that have the pioneer spirit in the head.
Everything will have to be restarted again from this evening on.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monique Morelli - Louis Aragon - Laughing and Crying

Original Title: "Rire et Pleurer"
Text: Louis Aragon

Between crying man hesitates
And laughing and laughing carelessly
His dreams are sometimes going so fast
That he doesn't know himself how
It's that crying leaves him

As long as one plays dice
everything depends on the point you bring up
This out of tune instrument
Which we take for the human soul
Is only useful to change our mind

Cruel and pitiful world
That believes to everything it's being told
And carries its unbelievable cross
Through plague and fire
While making fun of the poor devils

My heart, my heart watch out for people
Even to those who shiver from cold
They only have memory of money
Don't know they look like us
And even make some while sharing

Afterall it's barely if they notice
If it's sunny or if it's raining
Those are animals that you pen in
Under the black sky or the blue sky
While waiting for them to be taken away

For which penal colony for which destiny
For which night that has no limit
For which night that has no morning
Which night where dying imitates
The first childlike gestures

All poems written by Louis Aragon

Jean-Roger Caussimon - On a wish of Paul Elouard

Original Title: " Sur un voeu " Any caress, any trust survive themselves Those words so simple with light Were written by Paul...