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Juliette Gréco

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There is no everafter left

Now that you live
at the other end of Paris,
when you want a change of era
you indulge in a long trip,
you come and meet me
around the Dufour street corner,
you come and visit me
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés1
 
There is no everafter left
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
no day after tomorrow, no more afternoon,
there is just today.
When I'll see you again
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
it will no longer be you,
it will no longer be me:
the old days are gone.
 
You say 'How everything changes!'
 
The streets look strange to you,
even the flat whites
no longer taste the way you like them.
It is because you are a different woman
and I a a different man.
We are strangers
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
 
There is no everafter left
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
no day after tomorrow, no more afternoon,
there is just today.
When I'll see you again
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
it will no longer be you,
it will no longer be me:
the old days are gone.
 
Living from hand to mouth,
the merest love story
would seem everlasting
in these back alleys.
But as night came
it was soon over.
This is the eternity
of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
 
There is no everafter left
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
no day after tomorrow, no more afternoon,
there is just today.
When I'll see you again
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
it will no longer be you,
it will no longer be me:
the old days are gone.
 
  • 1. the gathering spot of the famous 'quartier latin' intelligentsia of artists and intellectuals in the 50's, that went suddently out of fashion in the 60's
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.

Chandannagar

She had, she had
a first-rate Chandannagar.
She had, she had
a well-built Chandannagar.
Only for me, only for me
did she unveil her cashmere,
her gardens, her wealthy neigbourhood,
and her Chandannagar at last.
In these circumstances,
no way I would have
left the Indian trading posts.
 
She had, she had
two plentiful Yanams.
She had, she had
two fresh and round Yanams,
and only I, and only I
ventured into her bush,
her wold, her vales,
her hills of Yanam.
In these circumstances,
no way I would have
left the Indian trading posts.
 
She had, she had
an awkward Karaikal.
She had, she had
a moody Karaikal.
Still at night I reached
her nirvāṇa regularily,
all this despite
her bloody Karaikal.
In these circumstances,
no way I would have
left the Indian trading posts.
 
She had, she had
a small and frail Mahé.
She had, she had,
a small and hidden Mahé,
but I had to quench
my fires in the monsoon,
and rouse, rouse myself from
the delights of Mahé.
In these circumstances,
no way I would have
lingered in the Indian trading posts.
 
She had, she had
an easy Pondicherry.
She had, she had
a welcoming Pondicherry.
She soon, she soon
showed a new tourist
around her trading post,
her flora and her geography.
In these circumstances,
no way I'll see again
the Indian trading posts.
 
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.

In your crystal bed

You are reading 'the Flowers of Evil'
as you await the male
that will carry your sweet sixteen away
in your satin bed.
Only in the early hours
will he let go of your hand.
He, your first lover,
will abandon you
in your dull, cold bed
to seek other preys,
other flowers to rape.
You won't forget him.
There will always remain
a place in your heart
where his eyes are engraved.
You are reading 'the Flowers of Evil'
and you could not care less
about my love for you.
In your satin bed,
you dream of this kid
who said this morning:
'I wrote a poem for you'.
In your velvet bed,
you say loving words to yourself
waiting for the day to come.
Tomorrow you'll meet him.
Him you will listen to,
and him you will believe.
You will take his arm,
maybe even in front of me,
my pretty flower of Evil,
my horizontal dream1.
You're falling asleep now,
and I gently cover you up
and switch the light off.
You're so far away already,
in your child dreams,
in your satin bed.
You're setting off for tomorrow,
without even a wave of the hand.
You just smile,
like a nice warm weather.2
I lock the door.
Sleep tight, and above all,
above all, dream about him.
 
  • 1. 'horizontal' as in 'lying in bed'. Not sure the English carries the same lustful allusion
  • 2. this can also be read as part of the next sentence: 'the weather is so nice, so I lock the door', or a standalone 'the wheater is so nice!'
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.
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The anti-Ecclesiastes (nothing is vanity)

Neither good nor bad weather
nor the scents of the ocean
nor the wind on a wheat field,
nothing is vanity.
Neither the warm skin of a lover
nor the glint of the setting sun
nor the touch of fresh wine,
nothing is vanity (x2)
 
Neither the secrets of the skies
nor the unruly atoms
nor the saffrons in the meadows1,
nothing is vanity.
Neitheir the anxiety of a child
nor the smile of a passer-by
nor the smell of a stranger,
nothing is vanity (x2)
 
Neither the whisper nor the song,
nor the old mistery of time,
nor the rest nor the danger,
nothing is vanity.
Neither the fear of the last moment
nor the appeal of nothingness,
nor the love of eternity,
nothing is vanity.
 
Nothing, but the adverted gaze,
arrogance and cruelty,
and the bitter jadedness,
nothing is vanity.
Nothing, but the death of beauty,
and the theft of truth,
and hate and vanity,
nothing is vanity (x2)
 
  • 1. '' is a folksong evokative of late summer nostalgia that was very popular in the 50's
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.

We Don't Forget Anything

We don't forget anything,
We don't forget anything at all
We don't forget anything,
We simply get used to it
 
Neither those departures nor those ships,
Nor those journeys that keel us over
From landscape to landscape,
And from face to face
Neither all those harbours nor all those bars,
Nor all those blues catches
Where we wait for the gray morning,
In the cinema of our whiskey glasses
 
Neither all of this nor anything else in this world
Could make us forget,
Would manage to make us forget
That as truly as the Earth is round,
We don't forget anything,
We don't forget anything at all
We don't forget anything,
We simply get used to it
 
Neither those 'never's nor those 'always's,
Neither those 'I love you's nor those loves
Which we pursue through many hearts,
From gray to gray, from cries to cries
Neither those white arms of a single night,
A womanly necklace for our boredom
Which we undo at daybreak
When we promise to come back
 
Neither all of this nor anything else in this world
Could make us forget,
Would manage to make us forget
That as truly as the Earth is round,
We don't forget anything,
We don't forget anything at all
We don't forget anything,
We simply get used to it
 
Not even that time when I would have turned
My regrets into a thousand songs,
Not even that time when my souvenirs
Will falsely assume the lines on my face to be a smile
Neither that great bed where my remorse
Has a rendez-vous with death,
Neither that great bed which I wish, on some days,
To be a party
 
Neither all of this nor anything else in this world
Could make us forget,
Would manage to make us forget
That as truly as the Earth is round,
We don't forget anything,
We don't forget anything at all
We don't forget anything,
We simply get used to it
 

Hello Sadness

For as long as we've been together
You come every morning
To give me the first caress
Hello, sadness.
Friend who looks like me
You're the only mirror
In which I can contemplate my youth
Hello, sadness.
You know the secret of my pain
Because it was you who rocked it in its cradle.
 
And if I must remember
You come to put your hand on mine
And you never forget
For as long as we've been together
You're my only love
I'm too weak
To leave you
Hello, sadness
For as long as we've been together
You're my only love
And I'm too weak
To leave you
Hello, sadness.
 
i hope this translation was useful to you. use it wherever, i don't mind.
i write evocative translations rather than precise ones so this might not be 'word for word'.

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