Classics  
French    1900 - 1977   
Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. Prévert participated actively in the surrealist movement and was a member of the Rue du Château group along with Raymond Queneau and Marcel Duchamp. His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. They are widely ... Read more
Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. Prévert participated actively in the surrealist movement and was a member of the Rue du Château group along with Raymond Queneau and Marcel Duchamp. His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. They are widely ... Read more

He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He put the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
Into the coffee with milk
With a small spoon
He churned
He drank the coffee
And he put down the cup
Without any word to me
He emptied the coffee with milk
And he put down the cup
Without any word to me
He lighted
One cigarette
He made circles
With the smoke
He shook off the ash
Into the ashtray
Without any word to me
Without any look at me
He got up
He put on
A hat on his head
He put on
A raincoat
Because it was raining
And he left
Into the rain
Without any word to me
Without any look at me
And I buried
My face in my hands
And I cried

This love
So violent
So fragile
So tender
So hopeless
This love
Beautiful as the day
And bad as the weather
When the weather is bad
This love so true
This love so beautiful
So happy
So joyous
And so pathetic
Trembling with fear like a child in the dark
And so sure of itself
Like a tranquil man in the middle of the night
This love that made others afraid
That made them speak
That made them go pale
This love intently watched
Because we intently watch it
Run down hurt trampled finished denied forgotten
Because we ran it down hurt it trampled
it finished it denied it forgot it
This whole entire love
Still so lively
And so sunny
It's yours
It's mine
That which has been
This always new thing
And which hasn't changed
As true as a plant
As trembling as a bird
As warm as live as summer
We can both of us
Come and go
We can forget
And then go back to sleep
Wake up suffer grow old
Go back to sleep again
Awake smile and laugh
And feel younger
Our love stays there
Stubborn as an ass
Lively as desire
Cruel as memory
Foolish as regrets
Tender as remembrance
Cold as marble
Beautiful as day
Fragile as a child
It watches us, smiling
And it speaks to us without saying a word
And me I listen to it, trembling
And I cry out
I cry out for you
I cry out for me
I beg you
For you for me for all who love each other
And who loved each other
Yes I cry out to it
For you for me and for all the others
That I don't know
Stay there
There where you are
There where you were in the past
Stay there
Don't move
Don't go away
We who loved each other
We've forgotten you
Don't forget us
We had only you on the earth
Don't let us become cold
Always so much farther away
And anywhere
Give us a sign of life
Much later on a dark night
In the forest of memory
Appear suddenly
Hold your hand out to us
And save us

The door that someone opened
The door that someone closed
The chair on which someone sat down
The cat that someone petted
The fruit that someone bit into
The letter that someone read
The chair that someone tipped over
The door that someone opened
The road where someone is still running
The woods that someone crossed running
The river in which someone jumped
The hospital where someone died.

Oh I wish so much you would remember
those happy days when we were friends.
Life in those times was so much brighter
and the sun was hotter than today.
Dead leaves picked up by the shovelful.
You see, I have not forgotten.
Dead leaves picked up by the shovelful,
memories and regrets also,
and the North wind carries them away
into the cold night of oblivion.
You see, I have not forgotten
the song that you sang for me:
It is a song resembling us.
We lived together, the both of us,
you who loved me
and I who loved you.
But life drives apart those who love
ever so softly
without a noise
and the sea erases from the sand
the steps of lovers gone their ways.

That small man who always sang
That small man who danced in my head
That small man with youth
Undid his shoelaces
And broke all the barracks of the festival
Suddenly everything collapsed
And in the silence of the festival
In the ruin of the festival
I heard your happy voice
Your voice so torn and fragile
Innocent and desolate
Came from afar and called me
And I put my hands on my chest
where they trembled bloody
Seven broken pieces of mirror
with your twinkling smile

A man enters a flower shop
and decides on some flowers
the florist wraps them up
as the man puts his hand into his pocket
to find the money,
the money to pay for the flowers
but at the same time
suddenly
he places a hand over his heart
and falls

As he falls
the money rolls around on the floor
and the flowers fall
with the man
with the money
and the florist stands there
as the money rolls
as the flowers ruin
as the man dies
it's obviously all very sad
and she really should do something
this florist
but she doesn't know how to go about it
she doesn't know
where to start

There are so many things to do
for this dying man
these ruining flowers
and this money
this rolling money
that won't stop.

Deamons and marvels
Winds and tides
Far away already, the sea has ebbed
And you
Like seaweed slowly carressed by the wind
In the sands of the bed you stir, dreaming
Deamons and marvels
Winds and tides
Far away already, the sea has ebbed
But in your half-opened eyes
Two small waves have remained
Deamons and marvels
Winds and tides
Two small waves to drown me

For you, my love
I went to a bird market
And I bought a bird
For you
My love
I went to a flower market
And I bought a flower
For you
My love
I went to a junk market
And I bought a chain
A heavey chain
For you
My love
And I went to a slave market
And I searched for you
But I couldn't find you anywhere
My love

Me, I play the piano
said one
me, I play the violin
said another
me the harp, me the banjo
me the cello
me the bagpipes, me the flute
and me, a rattle.
And they talked talked
talked about what they played.
No music was heard
everyone talked
talked talked
and no one played
but in a corner one man remained silent:
"And you, Sir, who remain silent and say nothing,
what instrument do you play?"
the musicians asked him.
"Me, I play the barrel organ
and I also play the knife,"
said the man who until now
had said absolutely nothing
and then he advanced knife in hand
and killed all the musicians
and played the barrel organ
and his music was so true
and so lively and so pretty
that the daughter of the house’s owner
came out from under the piano
where she lay bored to sleep
and said:
"Me, I played hoop
ball, chase
I played hopscotch
I played with a pail
I played with a shovel
I played house
I played tag
I played with my dolls
I played with a parasol
I played with my little brother
with my little sister
I played cops
and robbers
but that’s over over over
I want to play assassin
I want to play the barrel organ."
And the man took the little girl by the hand
and they went into towns
into houses, into gardens
and killed as many people as possible
after which they married
and had many children.
But
the oldest learned piano
the second, violin
the third, harp
the fourth, the rattle
the fifth, cello
and they all took to talking talking
talking talking talking
so that no more music was heard
and all was set to begin again!

Remember Barbara
It rained relentlesly on Brest that day
And you walked smiling
Beaming ravishing drenched
Under the rain
Remember Barbara
It rained relentlesly on Brest that day
And I ran into you in Siam Street
You were smiling
And I smiled too
Remember Barbara
You whom I didn't know
You who didn't know me
Remember
Remember that day still
Don't forget
A man was taking cover on a porch
And he cried your name
Barbara
And you ran to him under the rain
Beaming ravishing drenched
And you threw yourself in his arms
Remember that Barbara
And don't be mad if I speak familiarly
I speak familiarly to everyone I love
Even if I've seen them only once
I speak familiarly to all who are in love
Even if I don't know them
Remember Barbara
Don't forget
That good and happy rain
On your happy face
On that happy town
That rain upon the sea
Upon the arsenal
Upon the Ushant boat
Oh Barbara
What stupidity is war
Wwhat has become of you
Under this iron rain
Of fire and steel and blood
And he who held you in his arms
Amorously
Is he dead and gone or still so much alive
Oh Barbara
It's rained all day on Brest today
As it was raining before
But it isn't the same anymore
And everything is wrecked
It's a rain of mourning terrible and desolate
Nor is it still a storm
Of iron and steel and blood
But simply clouds
That die like dogs
Dogs that disappear
In the downpour drowning Brest
And float away to rot
A long way off
A long long way from Brest
Of which there's nothing left.

The white blankets in the closet
The red blankets in the bed
An infant in his mother
His mother in pain
The father in the corridor
The corridor in the house
The house in the city
The city in the night
The death in a cry
And the infant in the life

 
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