Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jacques Brel - The song of the old lovers


Original Title: "La chanson des vieux amants"
Of course, we had thunderstorms
Twenty years of love, it's the mad love
A thousand times you took your luggage
A thousand times I took flight
And every furniture remembers
In this bedroom without cradle
Of the splinters of old tempests
Nothing resembled to anything no more
You had lost the taste of water
And I the one of conquest

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

I, I know all your spells
You know all my bewitchment
You kept me from trap to trap
I have lost you time to time
Of course you took a few lovers
The time had well to be passed
The body well has to exult
But finally, finally
It required us quite a lot of talent
To be old without being adult

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

And more time makes us a procession
And more time makes us torment
But isn't it the worst trap
To live in peace for lovers
Of course you cry a bit less early
I tear myself up a bit later
We protect our mysteries less
We trust luck less
We are wary of the current
But it's still the tender war

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

Monday, October 27, 2014

Yves Jamait - I happened to be passing by


Original Title: "Je passais par hasard"
I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships
which found the hopes
of a "it's possible as a couple"

I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships
which found the hopes
of a "it's possible as a couple"

And I found charming,
Ideal and impressive
To see you in love
Even though every now and then
it was almost bloody²
to feel you both happy

It's in that spirit
That I went through the doorstep
Of that pretty house
born from a nuptial desire
But there, I remain silent
Dumbfounded on the reef
that breaks passion into conjugal horror

Here we are both
Overwhelmed with silence
I look in vain for the words
that could carry you
Erase all those bruises
In short, words that dress the wounds
And slip on your skin with terrorised edges

My hands of shameful male
are terrified to touch you
I approach anyway
and take you in my arms
You flee in the hollow of my neck to cry
You say "It's the umpteenth time that he does this to me"

I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships
which found the hopes
of a "it's possible as a couple"

And I found charming,
Ideal and impressive
To see you in love
Even though every now and then
it was almost bloody
to feel you both happy

And it's been a while already
That he gives you a thrashing
When he is persuaded
That you pick up in passing
And his insane look
makes you scared to death
When he comes to relieve
With his fists his rage

If his fists aren't enough
He strikes with his feet
When fallen on the ground
like an inert beast
You hide with your arms
Your swollen face
Then the blow of the shoe
Is only more agile
Then the blow of the shoe
Is only more agile

I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships
which found the hopes
of a "it's possible as a couple"

And I found charming,
Ideal and impressive
To see you in love
Even though every now and then
it was almost bloody
to feel you both happy

I do not recognise
Through that bastard
The one I used to love
Whom today I loathe
He wasn't like that
Well I am not sure anymore
One must have been so before
To be that rotten

I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships
which found the hopes
of a "it's possible as a couple"

Come, I only have my tenderness
Come, Come, Come
Here against me
Come, And for all this to end
Come, I take you away with me.

I happened to be passing by
I was passing by to see you
To find back a little
of those rare friendships

²very boring

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jacques Bertin - Landscape


Original Title: "Paysage"
We won't go further together apparently
We love each others so well, though, and it is futile
This separtion; the water of the Loire as well
Divide itself, further, having left islands.
Sorry, with their weight of dead wood toward oblivion,

Like major arguments swollen with boredom.
The river with forms more subtle from memory
Joins and of a new appetite to drink itself.
We will find each other again, I believe.
For you the doubt was stronger and the pain for a while shook you
You were right, then you are wrong. I dread
Less the future than those few memories.
There is the valley after the swirls, the slow waters.

The river takes there the form of an open hand.
In the grass and what's left of the violent hours
That's it: the giving up, the stream, the path
Untied or like two bodies united in a bed,
The writing of a simple word. Everything gathers us.

Then again this crazy joy of being together.
I take again the herbarium of the dazzled smiles.
You do not believe in it, you say "Too late", you say "Never"
I will keep quiet, I am patient like the river
Yesterday, tomorow, for me everything moves alltogether
The hope is the water itself; I love you, I loved you.
I will love you, I love you. What do I have left?
Except this large passion donning the plain.
This stubborn song that goes up in your breath
To the erected wall of stilled time, throwing challenges.
Around the setting sun the perspective wings.
In the bottoms of the painting where glides the years.
The parallels far away in the infinite joins.
And for ever; we can't miss one another.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Barbara - Because (I love you)


Original Title: "Parce que (je t'aime)"
It's because your shoulder to my shoulder
Your mouth to my hair
And your hand on my neck,
It's because on my waist,
When your breath brushes against me
It's because your hands,
It's because cheek to cheek,
It's because in the morning,
It's because at night,
When you say "come", I come
You smile, I smile.
It's because here or there,
In another country,
As long as you are there,
It is always my country,
It's because I love you
That I prefer to go away.
It's better, much better, to leave one another
Before dies the time to love.

It's because I fear to see plunge into grief
the minutes, the hours, the seconds passed,
It's because I know that there needs an almost nothing
To undo one night and be lost in the morning.
I won't let leaning over our bed
Nor the shadow of a regret, nor the shadow of a boredom.
I won't let die with the passing days
What was you and me, what was our love.
It will never be carried away by time,
I carry it away myself. It will remain alive.

Oh leave me alone, yes I love you.
But I prefer to go away.
Because one has to be able to part
Before dies the time to love.

I have seen some, like us, who were going at slow steps
And carried their love like ones carries a child.
I have seen some, like us, who were going at slow steps
And feel on their knees, in the declining evening.
I found them back, furious and fighting
Like two wounded wolves. What are they now?

That, I do not want. I love you.
I do not want to tear ourselves up
It's better, believe me, to part
Before dies the time to love.
It's better, much better, to part
Before dies the time to love...

Jean Ferrat - Aragon - The poets


Original Title: "Les poètes"
Text: Louis Aragon

I do not know what possesses me
And pushes me to say out loud,
Nor for the pity nor for the help
Nor like one would confess one's faults,
What inhabits me and what obsesses me
What inhabits me and what obsesses me

The one who sings tortures himself
Which shouts in me, which animal
I kill or which creature,
In the name of good in the name of evil,
Only know those who remained silent.
Only know those who remained silent.

Machado sleeps in Collioure
Three steps were enough out of Spain
For the sky for him to become heavy
He sat in this countryside
And closed his eyes for ever
And closed his eyes for ever

Above the waters and the plains
Above the roofs of the hills
A plainchant rises at the top of the voice²
Is it toward the star Hölderlin?
Is it toward the star Verlaine?
Is it toward the star Verlaine?

Marlowe you need the tavern
Not for Faust but to die there
Between the killers surrounding you
with their daggers and their laughs
By the glimmer of a lantern.
By the glimmer of a lantern.

Stars, dusts of flames,
In august which fall on the ground
All the sky, this night, proclaims
The slaughter of the nightingales
But what does the universe know of the tragedy.
But what does the universe know of the tragedy.

The suffering gives birth to the dreams
Like a hive its bees
The man shouts where his iron gnaws him
And his wound fathers a sun
More beautiful than the ancient lies.
More beautiful than the ancient lies.

I do not know what possesses me
And pushes me to say out loud,
Nor for the pity nor for the help
Nor like one would confess one's faults,
What inhabits me and what obsesses me
What inhabits me and what obsesses me

²at full throat
All poems written by Louis Aragon

Jacques Brel - The Bourgeois


Original Title: "Les Bourgeois"
The heart well in the warm
The eyes in the beer
At the fat Adrienne from Montalant
With friend Jojo
And with friend Peter*
We were going to drink our twenty years old
Jojo took himself for Voltaire
And Peter for Casanova
And me, I who was the proudest
Me, I took myself for myself
And when around midnight were passing the notaries
who were coming out of the "Three pheasant" Hotel
We showed them our ass and our good manners
By singing to them:

"The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become stupid²
The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become ...

The heart well in the warm
The eyes in the beer
At the fat Adrienne from Montalant
With friend Jojo
And with friend Peter
We were going to burn our twenties
Voltaire was dancing like a curate
And Casanova didn't dare
And me, I who remained the proudest
Me, I was almost as drunk as myself
And when around midnight were passing the notaries
who were coming out of the "Three Pheasant" Hotel
We showed them our ass and our good manners
By singing to them:

"The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become stupid
The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become ...

The heart at rest
The eyes well down to earth
At the bar of the "Three Pheasants" Hotel
With Mister Jojo
And with Master Peter
Between notaries we were passing time
Jojo speaks about Voltaire
And Peter about Casanova
And me, I who had remained the proudest
Me, I still talk about myself
And it's when going out around midnight, Mister the superintendent
That every evening from the Montalant
Young "yobs" are showing us their behinds
While singing to us
"The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become stupid
do they say Mister the superintendent
The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, more they become ..."

*translated Pierre to Peter and L'hôtel "Des trois faisans" to "Three Pheasants" Hotel

²The paragraph should be
"Older they become, dumber they become
The bourgeois they are like pigs
Older they get, ...they become"
I switched the order to a less grammatically correct sentence to show that there was something left hanging in the song
The ... could be replaced by a more offensive word than stupid/idiot. (in French the rhyme suggests "cons")

Friday, October 24, 2014

Barbara - Perlimpinpin


For whom, how, when and why?
Against whom? How? Against what?
Enough with your violences.

Where do you come from?
Where are you going?
Who are you?
Who do you pray?
I ask you to be silent.

For whom, how, when and why?
If it's absolutely necessary for us to be
Against someone or something.

I am for the setting sun
At the top of the deserted hills.
I am for the deep forests.

Because a child who cries,
No matter where he is from,
Is a child who cries.
Because a child who dies,
At the end of your rifles,
Is a child who dies.

How appalling it is to have to choose
Between two innocences.
How appalling it's to have for enemies
The laughs of childhood!

For whom, how, when and how much?
Against whom? How and how much?
To the point of losing the taste of living

The taste of water, the taste of bread
And the one of the Perlimpinpin²
In the Square des Batignolles

But for nothing, but for almost nothing,
To be with you and that's fine!
And for an half-open rose,

And for a breathing,
And for a breeze of abandon,
And for a shivering garden!

Having nothing, but passionately,
Frantically not saying anything to one another
But give everything ecstatically

And wealthy with deprivation
Only have one's own truth,
Own all the wealths.

Not speaking of poetry
While trampling down wild flowers.
And invoke transparence,
At the back of a yard with grey walls
Where dawn never stands a chance.

Against whom, how, against what?
For whom, how, when and why?
To find back the taste of living,

The taste of water, the taste of bread
And the one of Perlimpinin
In the Square des Batignolles

Against noone and against nothing,
But for all the open flowers,
But for a breathing,
But for a breeze of abandon
And for that shivering garden!

And to live passionately
And to fight only
with the fires of the tenderness

And wealthy with deprivation
Only have one's own truth,
Own all the wealths

Not speaking of poetry anymore
But let the wild flowers live

And invoke transparence
At the back of a yard with grey walls
Where dawn would finally stand a chance

To live,
To live,

And to live passionately
And fight only
with the fires of the tenderness

And wealthy with deprivation
Only have one's own truth
Own all the wealths

Nothing else but tenderness as only wealth

And to give,
But to give,
ecstatically!

To live,
To live,
With tenderness,
To live,
To live,
ecstatically!

Nothing else but tenderness as only wealth

And to give,
But to give,
ecstatically!

²Perlimpinpin powder is alike to "Snake Oil".
Live version:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jacques Brel - The Fanette


Original Title: "La Fanette"
We were two friends and Fanette loved me
The beach was deserted and was asleep under july
If they remember it the waves will tell you
How many songs I have sung for the Fanette .

Have to say
Have to say that she was beautiful
Like a water pearl
Have to say that she was beautiful
And I am not beautiful
Have to say
Have to say that she had brown hair
As much as the dune was blond
And helding one and the other
I, I held the world
Have to say
Have to say that I was crazy
To believe in all that
I believed him ours
I believed her mind
Have to say
That we aren't taught
to mistrust everything

We were two friends and Fanette loved me
The beach was deserted and was deceptive under july
If they remember it the waves will tell you
How the song stopped for the Fanette

Have to say
Have to say
While coming out
Of a dying wave
I saw them going away
like lovers
Have to say
Have to say that they laughed
When they saw me cry
Have to say that they sung
When I cursed them
Have to say
That it's well that day
That they swum so far
That they swum so well
That they haven't been seen again
Have to say
That we aren't taught
But let's talk about something else

We were two friends and Fanette loved him
The beach was deserted and cries under july
And the evening sometimes
When the waves stop
I hear like a voice
I hear... it's the Fanette

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yves Montand - Prévert - The dead leaves


This is a very famous song (sung by many) that has already been translated several times (for example here). Even Yves Montand recited the first part in English here but you will find here a literal one (without the extra paragraph of the original poem):

Original Title: "Les feuilles mortes"
Text: "Jacques Prévert"
Music: "Joseph Kosma"

Oh I would like so much for you to remember
the happy days of when we were friends
In that time, life was more beautiful
And the sun more burning than today
Dead leaves are shovelled up
You see, I did not forget
Dead leaves are shovelled up
Memories and regrets as well

And the north wind carries them away
In the dark night of oblivion
You see, I did not forget
The song you sang to me

It's a song that resembles us
You, you loved me and I loved you
And we were living both together
You who loved me, I who loved you
But life parts those who love each other
Slowly without making noise
And the sea erases on the sand
The steps of the disunited lovers

But life parts those who love each other
Slowly without making noise
And the sea erases on the sand
The steps of the disunited lovers
Another version:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Catherine Le Forestier - The red bedroom


Original Title: "La Chambre Rouge"
I remember that the bedroom was red
Like a mouth, like a sun
And that you were the first one, mister the thief
Velvet Mister, Mister my love
And that you were the first one, mister the stranger
Do you remember?

Pass the days, my loves grow weary of them
Pass the nights, my loves are bored
without you

I remember that the bedroom was red
The lamp sweet, the bed deep
And that you were the first one to have carried me
At the hollow of your hands
At the edge of the morning
And that you were the first one, mister the stranger
Do you remember?

Pass the days, my loves grow weary of them
Pass the nights, my loves are bored
without you

I remember that the bedroom was red
The lamp turned off, the bed stripped
And that the door closed, I didn't know the words that had to be said
And that the door closed, if I cried from it
I can well laugh of it

Pass the days, my loves grow weary of them
Pass the nights, my loves are bored
without you

Jacques Bertin - To sing


Original Title: "Chanter"
To sing just for the pleasure
To put the color to the world
To sing to calm the silence
Wanting to only be the color
It's sunday, the streets are empty
I am not from nowhere nomore
Farewell my grey and white city
Below my loves
And my friends where are you?
What have you done of your generosities
In the spring our opened city
Twelve abreast right in the sun

All my friends vanished
Poverty of the slightly dirty saints is giving me the eye
And my loves still have that knot in the throat
And the good lord who has the leper
And who makes fun of us all
To sing to forget about the fear
And to live glued to our own body
With a big voluptuous laugh
And then to learn the sweetness
Becoming the children's friend

To sing, to not be the pain anymore
Only be its moaning
Be the foam against the water
Be the frost against the winter
And the horse's mane
Be the breath of the horses
And not the running in the winter

Oh my soul, Oh my elder sister
Teach me the tranquil song
The words are only their color
The words are only their music
To sing to forget about the fear
As if it was already the hour
And in the evening peacefulness and singing
With the sky laying in the air
And my child who plays outside
And the good lord who plays marbles with a crystal laugh

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Georges Brassens - The passing birds


Original Title: "Les oiseaux de passage"
Text: poem by Jean Richepin adapted by G. Brassens

Oh happy life of the bourgeois
Be it that april buds
Or december freezes,
They are proud and happy.

That pigeon* is loved,
Three days by his hen-pigeon
It's enough for him, he knows
that love doesn't last

This turkey has always
blessed his destiny
and when the time comes
to die, one must see

This young goose in tears
"It's here I am born
I die near my mother
And I do my duty".

She has done her duty
This means that never
did she have impossible
wishes. That she had

No dreams of moon
No desire of junk
carrying her without rower
On an unknown river.

And all are made so
Live the same life
Always for those people
This is not hideous.

That duck only has one beak
And never felt the desire
Or to have none anymore
Or to have two.

They have no need
of kisses on their lips
And far away from the vain dreams
Far away from bitter worries

Own for only heart
An organ without fever
A regular cuckoo clock
And guaranteed for ten years.

Oh the perfectly happy people.
Suddenly in space
So high that they seem to go
Slowly in great flight

In the shape of a triangle
Arrive glide and pass
Where are they going?...who are they?
How far away from the ground they are

Look at them pass, them
those are the savages
They go where their desire
Wants above mountains

And woods, and seas, and winds
And far from slaveries
The air they drink
Would make your lungs burst

Look at them, before
reaching for their wild dreams
More than one, the wing broken
And blood full their eyes,

Will die. Those poor people
Also have woman and mother
And know to love them
As well as you, better.

To cherish this woman
And feed this mother
They could become
Poultry like you

But they are first of all
Sons of the chimera
Azure thirsty ones
Poets and crazies.

Look at the old cocks
Young edifying goose
Nothing of you will be able to
Climb as high as them

And the little that will come
from them to you
It's their droppings
The bourgeois are troubled
To see the beggars pass

Look at the old cocks
Young edifying goose
Nothing of you will be able to
Climb as high as them

And the little that will come
from them to you
It's their droppings
The bourgeois are troubled
To see the beggars pass

*mug/stupid person

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jean Ferrat - Pierre Louki - Would there be?


Original Title: "Y aurait-il"
Text: Pierre Louki

Would there be dense suns
of twelve months
Winter, Summer leading the dance
Siamese brothers?
Would there be seasons even out of season?
If you weren't yourself, you whom I love
in my house?

Would there be tender mornings
to wake up to
Mornings that we make wait
on the pillow
With agitations of baptism
Theme of agitation
If you weren't yourself, you whom I love
in my home?

Would there be fruits to the branches
of our desserts
And bursts of laughter to the hips
of our concerts?
Would I have tastes of poems
at your knees
If you weren't yourself, you whom I love
In our home

Would there be words without continuation
Without continuation finally
With so much happiness afterwards
endless sequel
So much, yes, so much happiness that even
Our bodies join together
If we weren't you, me who love one another
Both in ourselves?

All songs sung by Jean Ferrat.

Jacques Brel - The drunkard


Original Title: "L'ivrogne"
Friend, fill in my drink
One more and I go
One more and I am going
No, I am not crying
I sing and I am joyfull
But it hurts to be me
Friend, fill in my drink
Friend, fill in my drink

Let's drink to you
You who can say so well
That everything can be fixed
That she will come back
No matter if you are a liar
Innkeeper without tendernes
I will be drunk in an hour
I will be without sadness

Let's drink to
The friends and laughs
That I will find back
Who will come back to me
No matter if those lords
leave me on the floor
I will be drunk in an hour
I will be without anger

Friend, fill in my drink
One more and I go
One more and I am going
No, I am not crying
I sing and I am joyfull
But it hurts to be me
Friend, fill in my drink
Friend, fill in my drink

Let's drink to me
That people drink with me
That people come to dance
That people share my joy
No matter if the dancers
Leave me under the moon
I will be drunk in one hour
I will be without grudge

Let's drink to the young girls
Who remain for me to love
Let's drink already to the girls
Whom I will make cry
And no matter for the flowers
That they will refuse me
I will be drunk in an hour
I will be without passion

Friend, fill in my drink
One more and I go
One more and I am going
No, I am not crying
I sing and I am joyfull
But it hurts to be me
Friend, fill in my drink
Friend, fill in my drink

Let's drink to the whore
Who wrung my heart
Let's drink full with sorrow
Let's drink full with tears
And no matter for the tears
That rain from me tonight
I will be drunk in an hour
I will be without memory
Let's drink night after night
As I will be too ugly
For the slightest Sylvie
For the slightest regret
Let's drink as it's time
Let's drink just to drink
I will fine in an hour
I will be without hope

Friend, fill in my drink
One more and I go
One more and I am going
No, I am not crying
I sing and I am joyfull
Everything is getting better already
Friend, fill in my drink

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jean Ferrat - Aragon - The misfortune of loving


Original Title: "Le malheur d'aimer"
What do you know of the most simple things
The days are made up suns
Of which at night dream the roses
All the fires go away in smoke
What do you know of the misfortune of loving

I have looked for you at the back of the bedrooms
Where the lamp was lit up
Our steps did not ring there together
Nor our arms on us closed up
What do you know of the misfortune of loving

I have looked for you at the window
The parks in vain are perfumed
Where can you, where can you well be
What's the point to live during the month of may
What do you know of the misfortune of loving

What do you know of the long wait
And of living only to name you
God, always the same and different
And of you, I only to blame
What do you know of the misfortune of loving

That I forget myself and I remain
Like the rower without rowing
Do you know how long it's to die
While listening to yourself being consumed
Do you know the misfortune of loving?

All poems written by Louis Aragon

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gribouille - Mathias


It's not the cross, not the banner*
To greet all the friends
And to carve on a stone
May the buddies remain here
Come on, Mathias, we have to go home
That time Mathias is the last
Stop, Mathias, crying so much
For three buddies dead at the war

It's not the cross, not the banner*
A pretty kid who gets married
And even if last year
It's to you she was saying "yes"
Come on, Mathias, we have to go home
That time Mathias is the last
Stop, Mathis, crying so much
It's only a love that is being lost

You speak too much, Mathias
You have to sing
You bore us, Mathias
You have to dance
We, we don't care, Mathias,
Of your past
And your sorrows, Mathias
Are old-fashioned, Mathias

It's not the cross, not the banner*
To feel his heart scratched
By too many thorns and too many stones
There is beer to warm yourself up
Come on, Mathias, we have to go home
That time Mathias is the last
Stop, Mathias, crying so much
What's the point of being sincere

You speak too much, Mathias
You have to sing
You bore us, Mathias
You have to dance
We, we don't care, Mathias,
Of your past
One more drink, Mathias
And go dance, dance, dance


*It's not the devil's own job
Other version:

Mouloudji - We have to live

Original Title: " Faut vivre " Despite the big eyes of the void "It's to better eat you, child" And the silence...