Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Little Jacques Prévert

I stumbled on this on Facebook (which I love for just this sort of thing) and thought I'd share.

It's by Jacques Prévert, whom I have a fondness for because he was the favorite poet and bard of a long-departed friend of ours, Frank (RIP). Here's the English (I could not determine who the translator is), followed by Prévert himself reciting it, in French, followed by that text—which, y'know, rhymes. C'est un poème tellement charmant. Enjoy!

Song of the Snails on Their Way to a Funeral

Two snails were going to the funeral of a dead leaf.
Their shells were shrouded in black,
and they had wrapped crepe around their horns.
They set out in the evening,
one glorious autumn evening.
Alas, when they arrived
it was already spring.
The leaves who once were dead
had all sprung to life again.
The two snails were very disappointed.
But then the sun, the sun said to them,
“Take the time to sit awhile.
Take a glass of beer
if your heart tells you to.
Take, if you like, the bus to Paris.
It leaves this evening.
You’ll see the sights.
But don’t use up your time with mourning.
I tell you, it darkens the white of your eye
and makes you ugly.
Stories of coffins aren’t very pretty.
Take back your colours,
the colours of life.”
Then all the animals,
the trees and the plants
began to sing at the tops of their lungs.
It was the true and living song,
the song of summer.
And they all began to drink
and to clink their glasses.
It was a glorious evening,
a glorious summer evening,
and the two snails went back home.
They were moved,
and very happy.
They had had a lot to drink
and they staggered a little bit,
but the moon in the sky watched over them.




Chanson des escargots qui vont à l'enterrement

A l'enterrement d'une feuille morte
Deux escargots s'en vont
Ils ont la coquille noire
Du crêpe autour des cornes
Ils s'en vont dans le soir
Un très beau soir d'automne
Hélas quand ils arrivent
C'est déjà le printemps
Les feuilles qui étaient mortes
Sont toutes réssucitées
Et les deux escargots
Sont très désappointés
Mais voila le soleil
Le soleil qui leur dit
Prenez prenez la peine
La peine de vous asseoir
Prenez un verre de bière
Si le coeur vous en dit
Prenez si ça vous plaît
L'autocar pour Paris
Il partira ce soir
Vous verrez du pays
Mais ne prenez pas le deuil
C'est moi qui vous le dit
Ça noircit le blanc de l'oeil
Et puis ça enlaidit
Les histoires de cercueils
C'est triste et pas joli
Reprenez vous couleurs
Les couleurs de la vie
Alors toutes les bêtes
Les arbres et les plantes
Se mettent a chanter
A chanter a tue-tête
La vrai chanson vivante
La chanson de l'été
Et tout le monde de boire
Tout le monde de trinquer
C'est un très joli soir
Un joli soir d'été
Et les deux escargots
S'en retournent chez eux
Ils s'en vont très émus
Ils s'en vont très heureux
Comme ils ont beaucoup bu
Ils titubent un petit peu
Mais la haut dans le ciel
La lune veille sur eux.

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