Mai 40

Jacques Brel
Language: French

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On jouait un air comme celui-ci
Lorsque la guerre s'est réveillée,
On jouait un air comme celui-ci
Lorsque la guerre est arrivée

Moi de mes onze ans d'altitude,
Je découvrais éberlué
Des soldatesques fatiguées
Qui ramenait ma belgitude
Les hommes devenaient des hommes,
Les gares avalaient des soldats
Qui faisaient ceux qui ne s'en vont pas
Et les femmes,
Les femmes s'accrochaient à leurs hommes

Et voilà que le printemps flambe,
Les canons passaient en chantant
Et puis les voilà revenant
Déjà la gueule entre les jambes,
Comme repassaient en pleurant
Nos grands frères devenus vieillards,
Nos pères devenus brouillard
Et les femmes,
Les femmes s'accrochaient aux enfants

Je découvris le réfugié,
C'est un paysan qui se nomade,
C'est un banlieusard qui s'évade
D'une ville ouverte qui est fermée
Je découvris le refusé,
C'est un armé que l'on désarme
Et qui doit faire chemin à pied
Et les femmes,
Les femmes s'accrochaient à leurs larmes

D'un ciel plus bleu qu'à l'habitude,
Ce mai 40 a salué
Quelques allemands disciplinés
Qui écrasaient ma belgitude,
L'honneur avait perdu patience,
Et chaque bourg connut la crainte,
Et chaque ville fut éteinte
Et les femmes,
Les femmes s'accrochèrent au silence.

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2004/11/30 - 22:20

Language: English

Versione inglese di Ronnie
MAY 1940

They played a tune like this one
When the war awoke
They played a tune like this one
When the war arrived.

I, after eleven years of being up in the air,
Was astonished to discover
That the tired army rabble
Restored my Belgianness.
The men became men,
The stations swallowed up soldiers.
But who took care of those who did not leave?
And the women--The women clung to their men.

And, look, how the springtime flames,
The cannons pass even while they are singing.
And, look at them returning,
howling between their legs.

As they pass again, weeping,
Our big brothers have become old men,
Our fathers have become mist,
And the women—The women clung to the children.

I discovered the refugee:
It’s the peasant who wanders,
It’s the commuter who escapes,
From an open city that is closed.
I discovered the one who was turned away,
It’s the army that they have disarmed
And which must make its way on foot.
And the women—the women clung to their tears.

From a sky more blue than usual,
This May 40 issued its greeting,
Those disciplined Germans
Who crushed my Belgianness,
Honor was losing patience.
Every town was becoming acquainted with fear,
And every city being extinguished,
And the women—The women clung to silence.

Contributed by Ronnie - 2006/10/5 - 20:09

Guys you have a typo in the posted lyrics of Mai 40: the line that reads:"Les femmes s'accrochaient à leurs armes" is in fact:"Les femmes s'accrochaient à leurs larmes" which would translate into "the women clung to their tears" instead of "the women clung to their weapons" (not the fault of the translator but must be corrected). You can check the books where Brel lyrics are published - they used to be all available over but not anymore.

Nassim - 2009/1/9 - 07:42

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