Thursday, October 7, 2010

Magpie 35

Jacques Prevert
This week’s prompt took me back a few decades, back to the days when American francophiles were fascinated by the work – the poetry and the films – of Jacques Prevert.
Students of the golden age of French cinema are familiar with his classic motion pictures, “Les Enfants du paradis” – which many claim was the greatest French film ever made – as well as “Le Jour se leve,” “Quai des brumes,” and a number of others, all written by Prevert.

But what brought his work to the minds of some of us old-timers by today’s Magpie prompt was of course his song “Les Feuilles mortes” – “Autumn Leaves” – especially as sung by Edith Piaf and Yves Montand. There were, of course, English versions, but I’ll stick with the original.
Prevert’s poetry holds up well today and is perfect for an October morn.
“C’est une chanson qui nous ressemble,
Toi, tu m’aimais et je t’aimais.”
It’s a song that resembles the two of us,
You, you who loved me and I who loved you.

“Et nous vivions tous deux ensemble,
Toi qui m’aimais, moi qui t’aimais.”
And the two of us lived together,
You who loved me and I who loved you.

“Mais la vie separe ceux qui s’aiment,
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit.
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants desunis.”
But life separates those who love,
Softly, making no noise.
And the sea erases on the sand
The footprints of lovers who are no longer together.


Jacques Prevert, 1900-1977

32 comments:

Deborah said...

Just wonderful!

Doctor FTSE said...

Have you heard the Errol Garner version on a recording "Concert By The Sea," - still obtainable from Amazon after many years. He plays a long, rolling intro, very ornate, not in his usual incisive style at all - then stops and picks out the tune with one finger. Wonderful stuff!
Very interesting post, particularly the French use and English translations of "Je t'aimais" etc. (Continuous perfect tense??)

Katherine said...

This was lovely Berowne.. Nice Magpie.

willow said...

Beautiful. Now I am craving some Piaf.

Jinksy said...

Thinks - moi que t’aimais - Can you fix the typo?
Beautiful French poetry to enjoy here...

Derrick said...

I've just listened to Yves Montand. Silly me never realised that the French lyrics are so different to the English! Thanks for enlightening me.

Berowne said...

Jinksy: "Thinks - moi que t’aimais - Can you fix the typo?"
Oops, glad you spotted it. I fixed it. :-)

Berowne said...

Derrick: "...never realised that the French lyrics are so different to the English!"
Yes, there's quite a difference.

Kristen Haskell said...

You make me want to study French again. It is such a beautiful language. I wish I never let it go but it has been 30 years. I am thinking Rosetta Stone.

Berowne said...

Kristen H: "I am thinking Rosetta Stone."
Yes, whatever happened to her?
(Sorry.) :-)

Lyn said...

Time to return to Les Infants du Paradis..viewed so long ago..
Imagine having written a song that Piaf and Montand sang..blows my mind..wonderful memories..thank you..

kathew said...

oh I could hear Edith -thanks for the ear candy and memories of lovely singing.

Suz said...

oh the French

Reflections said...

wonderful take on this prompt... can hear the music within the memories.

kathi harris said...

Always loved French. Wish I had followed my heart & learned it.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Beautiful...the French really know how to say it hot, don't they?

Carrie Burtt said...

Truly lovely Berowne! :-)

Terresa said...

Oh, I wish I could swap all the Spanish I know for French, at times. This was beautifully writ & translated. Thank you for it, what a delight!

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

I LOVE Edith Piaf!! her voice is pure passion. This is the third time I stop by following your link from Willow's magpie and I am following now - your blog is brilliant!

Berowne said...

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares: "Your blog is brilliant!"
What a wonderful, generous comment -- thanks.

Berowne said...

What a lineup: Deborah, Dr FTSE, Katherine, willow, Lyn, kathew, Suz, Reflections, kathy, Rene, Carrie and Terresa. Thanks for your visits and comments.

Tumblewords: said...

Ah the romance of French - beautiful.

Angie Muresan said...

I love the way Edith Piaf sings Autumn Leaves. In fact, I am craving to hear it now.

SW said...

Such a learned sage. Thanks for your contributions. I too enjoy reading your posts. They make me feel as if I would be attending a salon discussion. ;-)

Karen S said...

This is lovely -- makes me wish I remembered more of my high school French.

Madame DeFarge said...

The French really do this sort of thing better than anyone else. Such bittersweet love.

Karen said...

Thanks for this lovely journey.

ds said...

What a beautiful poem/song. Wish I could have heard them sing it (but that's what YouTube is for, isn't it?) Thank you so much for sharing this.

Lena said...

I always like to listen to songs recommended or included in blogs. After Edith's version I noticed that Iggy Pop covered this, too!!! Well, he half sings, half grumbles - but I'm amazed. Some songs really are timeless. Magpiegic!

Berowne said...

Lena: "Magpiegic!"
Wow -- I learned a new word. Thanks, Lena.

Alakaline said...

Thanks for sharing this. I enjoy JP's poetry too. And of course Les feuilles mortes.

Lydia said...

Oh, this is so so beautiful. I love Piaf but must confess to having learned from you the name Prevert. This one poem will send me to read more...heavens, I learn so much from your blog.

(I am only now getting around to reading last week's Magpies - #35... :)

 
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