Those are mostly litteral translations (at the best of my means, mistakes happen) in order to convey the meaning of the songs. I'm not trying to recreate the poetry (I do believe some of it is still there however) or even respect the scansion (I do try to keep the order of the words when possible if only to keep the stress where it's laid).

Many of the following songs are written in verses which obviously is not the case anymore once translated.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jacques Bertin - Last warning


Original Title: "Dernier avertissement"
I am writing you this letter on the side of a road toward Vierzon
I've run out of petrol and I have the time, the sea is vast
I write it's to bid you farewell, there is no point as I am leaving
My love, I am sitting the ass at the bottom of the water in my distress
Fishes are empty moments, we look at each other with a stupid look
The boat which was leaking from everywhere it was my soul
I was bailing as much as I could, you weren't seeing anything, I was holding on
You liked to burn your wings to the diseases of the butterflies
You have shouted too often "It hurts" or "I am drowning, help!"
I was holding on but I was tiring the heart belt, the transmission
You didn't pay attention enough, you took your ill for a male
You thought you could hammer, groan and jump on it with your feet together
You were thinking "It's steel under the fingers, some cabbage belly, some Briton's head'
The bulldozer broke a piston during an ascent of the pillow, it's dieing
The climbers roped together got lost on the north face of the dolorosa soul on the ground²
Men, I see nothing else int he ditches, belly bursted
Little twentieth century chicks, the clued up rats pass without seeing
No doubt they are going to beat their big basket of troubles at the washing-place.
Oh god! Alas! You'll cry much less once alone
You won't want to bug your fellow man now that you are your nearest neighbour
I, I'll regret the quick-temper in bed, the bitter-sweet halter
The little Bovary chest of drawers so cumbersome
And your inteligence like a liquier which was tightening around my neck.
Oh God! From now on you'll say "Me, I" alone for your mirror
And your mirror, it's certain, will accept you better than I
You will finally go to sleep alone, such peace in the ocean of the sheets
No one anymore, thank God, to talk very low to be a sexual object
I will be able to run out of gas on the roads, no one to moan
You will have no one to admire, no one to complain to
And I, I will go, cushy, with my empty can along the meadows.
² play on words to sound like Mater Dolorosa

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Léo Ferré - You'd put the universe


Original Title: "Tu mettrais l'univers"
Text: Charles Baudelaire

You'd put the whole universe in your alleyway
Impure woman! Boredom makes your soul cruel.
To exercise your teeth to this singular game,
You need every day one heart to your rack.
Your eyes, lit up like shops
And blazing yew trees in public feasts,
Blatantly use of a feigned power,
Without ever knowing the law of their beauty.

Blind and deaf machine, fertile in cruelties!
Salutary instrument, drinker of the blood of the world,
How aren't you ashamed and how haven't you,
In front of all mirrors, seen your charmes fade?
The greatness of that ill where you believe yourself skilful
never then has made you back away in terror,
When nature, tall in its hidden design,
Uses you, oh woman, oh queen of sins,
- Of you, vile animal, - to knead a genius?

Oh miry greatness! Magnificent ignominy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Monique Morelli - Ronsard - When I see you


Original Title: "Quand je vous vois"
Text: Pierre de Ronsard

When I see you, or when I think of you
Of a shiver all my heart quivers
My blood stirs and of a fertile thought
Another grows, so is the subject sweet to me.

I tremble all of nerves and knees
Like the was in the fire, I distil myself
My reason falls and my strength useless
Leaves me cold breathless and without pulse.

I look like the dead, who is tumbled down the grave
So gaunt am I, dreadful and pale
Seeing my senses turn into death

And somehow I take pleasure in my embers.
Of an alike ill one and the other feel comfortable
I to die and you to kill me.


All poems written by Ronsard

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Jacques Bertin - To Doctor L.


Original Title: "Au Docteur L"
Vehicule stopped on the side of the road
"Do you need help...comrade?"

I have seen you when I was passing by very fast.
Exhausted in the screaming morning which was coming
I have seen you and I didn't stop
I have seen too many tired men
Tired, exhausted, open mouth
Worn out by the road, impossible to hold on
when the day is coming

I have seen you in bars on the morning
When you have smoked your pack of cigarettes during the night
The alcohol ends up triggering the tide in you
The filter only sends in the circuit the words that really hurt

You are unfair with your life
But afterall it has blinkers on the eyes
Like an horse which drags itself forever
Without knowing what it drags
Toward the final paddock
Anyway its legs are already hurting

Some evenings, at a friend's house,
Drunken with tiredness and emptiness
Suddenly grabbed by the elation of the suicidal ones
You start yelling about being useful and pure
And to burn one's life in one's pipe
For default of another tobacco

Buddies pretend that those are drunken words
But they look at you with terror
Like you they see the truth about the state of the sick one
And the weird color of the sheets

The wife, one has chosen
Whom we do not love anymore
Whom we still love
On whom young people turn round in town
Without her believing in it
She listens and pushes back as much as she can
The door on that cold
Because for that business she is more advanced than you

She doesn't know if she still loves you
It does not matter
One has to put the machine back in one's old way
And start off again

Oh woman, Oh woman
Do not turn away from that man please
Let's go inside, Doctor
Let's go inside that house
Which will never be our house

Stop the car
I do not know where
But I hurt
Breathe the air coming from the native country

Vehicle stopped on the side of the road
Do you need help comrade
I have seen too many tired men
If I tell you: I am happy
Ah believe me
Would you have a grudge against me, Comrade
If I do not stop
I pass at top speed well protected by my young age
Doctor, hold the hand of that incomporable companion you have
Start the engine again, it'll be fine by driving quietly

Monday, July 4, 2016

Jean-Roger Caussimon - The buddies of May



Original Title: "Les copains de mai"
On the path of my Bohemia
I have seen childreen pass
If they were anxious about the future
They still wanted to hope
Our meeting was too brief
Where, without saying it, we were in love
While sharing the same dreams
The time for a month of may to last
The time for a month of may to last

Because this city we hasten ourself to
Is merciless to the springs
Life takes them Life city spoils them
In the banal way I mean
In the banal way I mean

Not wanting to appear more gamine
Nor weaker than boys anymore
The girls had ways
Slightly troubling of androgynes
Love was, if you listened to them,
Nothing but hobby by mutual agreement
It was of course to deny
Suffering and crying because of it
Suffering and crying because of it

Because this city we hasten ourself to
Is merciless to the lovers
Life takes them Life city spoils them
In the cruel way I mean
In the cruel way I mean

On three chords of a guitar
We were singing the same songs
But destiny has its reasons
Undoubtly when it parts us
Am I still in your memory
I who would like to beg you
To never think nor believe
That I could forget about you
That I could forget about you

Because this city we hasten ourself to
Is merciless to the missings one
Life takes them Life city spoils them
In the meaningless way I mean
Where are your teenager hearts?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jean Ferrat - Louis Aragon - Epilogue


Original Title: "Epilogue"
Text: Louis Aragon
Life would have passed like a big sad castle that all the winds go through
The draughts slam the doors and yet no bedroom is closed
There sit some unknown persons poor and weary who knows why, some in arms
The grass grew in the ditches so that we can't lower its portcullis anymore

When I was young I was told that soon would come the victory of angels
Ah how I believed in it, how I believed in it then I became old
The time of the young people is for them like a forelock always falling back over their eyes
And what's left of it for the elderly is too heavy and too short that for them the wind changes

I will write those verses with arms wide open so that one can feel my heart beat there four times
Even if I have to die for it I will go beyond my throat and my voice, my breath and my song
I am the reaper drunk from reaping who is being seen laying waste to his life and his field
And panting of the time he loses there, who beats and beats again his scythe soundly

I see all what you have in front of you, of misfortune, of blood, of weariness
You would not have learned anything from our illusions, not understood a thing from our missteps
We were of no use to you you will have to pay the price at your turn
I see your shoulder bend. On your forehead I see the crease of the habits

Of course, of course you will tell me that it's always like that but precisely
Think about all those who put their living fingers, the flesh hands in the gearing
So that it changes and think of those who weren't even discussing their cage
May we have the right to despair, the right to stop for a moment

I will write those verses with arms wide open so that one can feel my heart beat there four times
Even if I have to die for it I will go beyond my throat and my voice, my breath and my song
I am the reaper drunk from reaping who is being seen laying waste to his life and his field
And panting of the time he loses there, who beats and beats again his scythe soundly

Think that we never stop to fight and that having vanquished is hardly a thing
And that everything is in the balance again from the moment that man is accountable of man
We have seen great things done but there have been dreadful ones
Because it nos always easy to know where is the evil where the good

And one day will come when you'll have on you the senseless sun of victory
Remember that we also knew that and that others climbed
To tear off the flag of servitude from the Acropolis and that they have been the ones,
Them and their glory, still panting, to be thrown in the common grave of History

I will write those verses with arms wide open so that one can feel my heart beat there four times
Even if I have to die for it I will go beyond my throat and my voice, my breath and my song
I am the reaper drunk from reaping who is being seen laying waste to his life and his field
And panting of the time he loses there, who beats and beats again his scythe soundly

I don't say that to demoralize you. One has to look straight at the emptiness
To know how to triumph against it. The song is not less beautiful when it declines
One has to know how to hear it elsewhere when it rebirths like the echo among the hills
We aren't the only one in the world to sing and the drama is the collection of songs

The drama one has to know how to keep its part in it and even if one voice goes quiet
Remember always that the deep chorus will take back the interrupted sentence
As long as the singer has up to the bottom of himself, done what he could
No matter if along the way you'll abandon me like an hypothesis

I will write those verses with arms wide open so that one can feel my heart beat there four times
Even if I have to die for it I will go beyond my throat and my voice, my breath and my song
I am the reaper drunk from reaping who is being seen laying waste to his life and his field
And panting of the time he loses there, who beats and beats again his scythe soundly

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Léo Ferré - Paul Verlaine - The lodger girls


Original Title: "Les pensionnaires"
Text: Paul Verlaine
One was fifteen years old, the other was sixteen
Both were asleep in the same bedroom.
It was a very heavy evening of September
Frail, with blue eyes, some redness of a strawberry

Each left, to make themselves comfortable,
The thin shirt of a fresh perfume of amber
The youngest stretches her arms and arches her back
And her sister, her hands on her breasts, kisses her,

Then fall on her knees, then becomes wild
And tumultuous and crazy, and her mouth
Plunges under the blond gold, in the grey shadows;

And the child, in the meanwhile, makes a list
On her cute fingers some promised waltzes,
And, pink, smiles with innocence.
All poems by Verlaine.