Monday, February 23, 2015

Jean Ferrat - Louis Aragon - Robert the devil


Original Title: "Robert le diable"
Song written by Louis Aragon in memory of Robert Desnos

You were carrying in your voice something of a song of Nerval
When you were speaking of blood, peculiar young man
Giving emphasis to cruelty with your regular verses
The butchers' laugh were escorting you in the markets
You had in those days those accent of impossible
which I hear reverberate through the years
Twenty year old poet assassinated in advance
And that were already avenged by the blasphemy and the insult

I think of you Desnos who left from Compiègne
Like one evening while sleeping you told us the story of it
To fulfil to the end your own prophecy
Over there where the destiny of our century bleeds

Standing under a porch with a cornet of fries
Here you are under bad weather near Saint-Merry
Staring at the world with insolence
Of your look alike to the one of Amphitrite
Enormous and quivering of a pale steam
And the ground at your foot alike to the foam at the bare breast
Covers itself with cigarette butts, with spits, with vegetables
In the steps of the rain and of the prostitutes

I think of you Desnos who left from Compiègne
Like one evening while sleeping you told us the story of it
To fulfil to the end your own prophecy
Over there where the destiny of our century bleeds

And it's you again who endlessly goes out for a stroll
Shepherd of the long desires and of the broken dreams
Under the dark trees in the Champs-Elysées
Until the exhaustion of the night, your domain
Oh the East Station* and the first croissant
The black coffee that one takes next to the coffee machine
The fresh newspapers the boulevards full of scents
The mouths of the metro which catches the passers-by

I think of you Desnos who left from Compiègne
Like one evening while sleeping you told us the story of it
To fulfil to the end your own prophecy
Over there where the destiny of our century bleeds

The city, a bit everywhere, keeps of your presence²
A shadow of colour to her dirty pediments
And when the day rises at the dim Sacré-Coeur
When on the Panthéon like a squaring off dusk puts its grazed scraps
When the wind screams wolf under the Pont-au-Change
When the sun in the Wood runs with the oranges
When the moon sits from church tower to church tower

I think of you Desnos who left from Compiègne
Like one evening while sleeping you told us the story of it
To fulfil to the end your own prophecy
Over there where the destiny of our century bleeds
*Gare de l'Est
²literally "coming through"/way


All poems written by Louis Aragon

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