The Sleeper in the Valley

Today in my French class I read some more great poems.  Here’s one that I really love called “Le Dormeur du Val” by Arthur Rimbaud in both French and English.

sleeper in the valley
The Sleeper in the Valley

It’s a green hollow where a river sings
Madly catching white tatters in the grass.
Where the sun on the proud mountain rings:
It’s a little valley, foaming like light in a glass.

A conscript, open-mouthed, his bare head
And bare neck bathed in the cool blue cress,
Sleeps: stretched out, under the sky, on grass,
Pale where the light rains down on his green bed.

Feet in the yellow flags, he sleeps. Smiling
As a sick child might smile, he’s dozing.
Nature, rock him warmly: he is cold.

The scents no longer make his nostrils twitch:
He sleeps in the sunlight, one hand on his chest,
Tranquil. In his right side, there are two red holes.

Et maintenant la version originale en français

C’est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière,
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent ; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit : c’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.

Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort ; il est étendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme :
Nature, berce-le chaudement : il a froid.

Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine ;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.

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Le Point Mirabeau

 

In my French class today I read the poem “Le Point Mirabeau” (or the “Mirabeau Bridge”) by Apollinaire. It’s really sad but beautiful and I wanted to share it with you all. Don’t worry, I found a good English translation by Richard Wilbur but I also included the original French version for some of my French speaking followers.

A picture I took in Paris along the Seine.

A picture I took in Paris along the Seine.

The Mirabeau Bridge

Below the Pont Mirabeau
Slow flows the Seine
And all our loves together
Must I recall again
Joy would always follow
After pain

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Hands holding hands
Let us stand face to face
While underneath the bridge
Of our arms entwined slow race
Eternal gazes flowing
At wave’s pace

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Love runs away
Like running water flows
Love flows away
But oh how slow life goes
How violent is hope
Love only knows

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

The days flow ever on
The weeks pass by in vain
Time never will return
Nor our loves burn again
Below the Pont Mirabeau
Slow flows the Seine

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Et maintenant, en francais:

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure