9 March 2007

Les Mots Bleus (continued)

This is my English translation of "Les Mots Bleus".

Unfortunately, there are expressions that remain very French. e.g. "Il faudra bien qu'elle comprenne". In this context, bien has no real English equivalent, I'm afraid. Worse still, I could not find an exact translation for the word "retrouvaille". It does not really exist. Is it a reunion? Or a new encounter? Even in the French lyrics there is a fragile ambiguity about the couple's state of affairs. Do they know each other? Has she/he ever spoken to her? Besides, I've always interpreted the end of the song as narrating a chance meeting which happened after a very long time, and so perhaps this "retrouvaille" should be read as "of us finding each other again."

But to each their own interpretation. The appeal of a well written song is that it reaches out to many and what it may evoke is really up to the listener, as he or she feels and remembers.

Here it is, again, since I'm in a melancholy mood and since so much in life is left unspoken and because I also respect the magic of silence.

The Blue Words

Six o'clock on the church bell-tower
In the town square, the flowers poetise
A girl is about to leave the town hall
Each evening I await for her,
She smiles at me
I will have to speak to her
At all cost

I will tell her the blue words
The words one says with the eyes
Speaking would seem, to me, ridiculous
I spring forward only to retreat
Before a useless sentence
That would break the fragile instant
Of an encounter
Of an encounter

I will tell her the blue words
Those that make people happy
I will call her without naming her
I am perhaps, out of date
The winter wind blows in April
I love the motionless silence
Of an encounter
Of an encounter

There is no more clock, no more bell-tower
In the town square, the trees are at rest
I return by the night train
On the platform, I see her
As she smiles at me
She will have to understand
At all cost (original nuance: She will have no option but to understand)

I will tell her the blue words
The words one says with the eyes
All the excuses that one gives
Are like the kisses that one steals
There remains a subtle rancour
That may compromise the fragile instant
Of us meeting again
Of us meeting again

I will tell her the blue words
Those that make people happy
A wordless love story
Has no need for protocol
And all those long futile speeches
Would somewhat tarnish the style
Of us meeting again
Of us meeting again

I will tell her the blue words
Those that make people happy
I will tell her all the blue words
Those that make people happy
All the blue words...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

retrouvaille means rediscovery

Laura said...

Thank you! Rediscovery would fit in nicely. I am grateful.

I'm wondering then, whether that means they had been with each other before...or whether they were never in fact a couple, but simply kept meeting by accident...I like to imagine the latter scenario. It gives the song a sort of tragic pang.

Reuben said...

Melancholy me.

I've not played the song, or heard the tune, but the blue words.. they are the ones you want to make someone happy with.

A sad song for me, until I break the spell by actually listening to it.

Cyro said...

Nice translation ;)