French Golden Oldie

Jacques Prevert may perhaps be a lesser known name than

Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarme or Paul Verlaine in the realm of French

poetry, nonetheless his name was first introduced to me when I was studying

French in my youth at L’Alliance Francaise. Ever since, one of his poems, “Barbara”, which was about the afflictions

brought on by war, has stuck in my head to this day.

Here’s the link to the French song “Les Feuilles Mortes” (“The Dead Leaves”)

performed by Italian-French actor/singer Yves Montand:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo1C6E7jbPw&list=FLlMBDFYTe8MGL_Z6TJc6LOg

Here’s the link to Nat King Cole’s rendition of “Autumn Leaves”:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kP8jPa1wCg&list=WL3CC20B8209A59FA0

The lyrics of “Les

Feuilles Mortes” as performed by Yves Montand in the above clip:-

Oh

! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes

Des jours heureux où nous étions amis.

En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle,

Et le soleil plus brûlant qu'aujourd'hui.

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle.

Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié...

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,

Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi,

Et le vent du nord les emporte

Dans la nuit froide de l'oubli.

Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié

La chanson que tu me chantais.

C'est une chanson qui nous ressemble.

Toi, tu m'aimais et je t'aimais

Nous vivions tous les deux ensemble,

Toi qui m'aimais, moi qui t'aimais.

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment,

Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit

Et la mer efface sur le sable

Les pas des amants désunis.

Mais

la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment,

Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit

Et la mer efface sur le sable

Les pas des amants désunis.

Here’s

my English translation of the lyrics:-

Oh,

how I wish that you could call to mind

The

happy days when we were friends.

At

that time life was more beautiful

And

the sun more sizzling than today.

The

dead leaves gather around the shovel,

You

see, I’ve not forgotten…

The dead leaves gather around the shovel;

The

memories and the regrets too;

And

the north wind carries them

Through

the cold night of oblivion.

You

see, I’ve not forgotten

The song that you sang to me.

It

is a song that mirrors our story.

You, you loved me, and I loved you;

We

used to live, the two of us together.

You,

who loved me, and I, who loved you.

But

life separates those who love each other

Very softly, without making a noise,

And

the sea wipes away from the sand

The footprints of the lovers torn asunder.

But

life separates those who love each other

Very

softly, without making a noise.

And

the sea wipes away from the sand

The

footprints of the lovers torn asunder.