Le Déserteur

Boris Vian
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Monsieur le Président,
Je vous fais une lettre
Que vous lirez, peut-être,
Si vous avez le temps.
Je viens de recevoir
Mes papiers militaires
Pour partir à la guerre
Avant mercredi soir.
Monsieur le Président,
Je ne veux pas la faire!
Je ne suis pas sur terre
Pour tuer des pauvres gens...
C'est pas pour vous fâcher,
Il faut que je vous dise:
Ma décision est prise,
Je m'en vais déserter.

Depuis que je suis né
J'ai vu mourir mon père,
J'ai vu partir mes frères
Et pleurer mes enfants;
Ma mère a tant souffert,
Elle est dedans sa tombe
Et se moque des bombes
Et se moque des vers.
Quand j'étais prisonnier
On m'a volé ma femme,
On m'a volé mon âme
Et tout mon cher passé...
Demain de bon matin
Je fermerai ma porte.
Au nez des années mortes
J'irai sur les chemins.

Je mendierai ma vie
Sur les routes de France,
De Bretagne en Provence
Et je dirai aux gens:
Refusez d'obéir!
Refusez de la faire!
N'allez pas à la guerre,
Refusez de partir.
S'il faut donner son sang,
Allez donner le vôtre!
Vous êtes bon apôtre,
Monsieur le Président...
Si vous me poursuivez,
Prévenez vos gendarmes
Que je n'aurai pas d'armes
Et qu'ils pourront tirer.
No, Mr Faber, you should not look for an insult where it does not exist and, if you should find it, it is you who have put it there, I tell you. What I exactly mean does not allow misunderstanding: I have never wished to offend the veterans from both world wars, the Partisans (I have many friends among them) and the Victims of the war (and, among them, I had many friends, too). My insults are always frank and open-hearted, though very rare. I shall never insult people like myself, civilians who have been given a uniform only to be killed as things, and nothing more, and who have had their heads filled with empty words and pointless excuses. Only an idiot, not a hero, fights without knowing what is the fight for; a hero is he, who accepts death if he knows that it will be useful to the values he is defending. The Deserter of my song does not know why; who will explain it to him? I do not know from which war you are a veteran; but, if you are a veteran from the First world war, so you must admit that you have more talent for war than for peace. Those, who, just like me, were twenty years old in 1940, have been given a nice birthday present indeed. I do not pretend to be counted among the brave: I have been rejected for a heart disease, I have not fought, I have not been deported, I have not collaborated; and I have remained four years a poor, half-starved idiot in the crowd, and I could not understand why one needs explanations to understand what is perfectly clear. I am thirty-four today, and I want to tell you: should I be called to defend those whom I love, I would fight straight away. But should I be ordered to die by napalm in an ignoble war, as an obscure pawn in a fight the true reasons of which are merely political interests and manoeuvres, so I will desert and take to the bush. I will make my own war. The whole Country has risen up against the war of Indochina when everyone has become really aware of what it was for; and all the boys who have been slaughtered there believing they were ‘serving’ anything or anyone –as they were told-, well, I do not insult them. I do grieve for them. Among them, who knows, there were great painters or great musicians and, no doubt, a lot of good people. You see, when a war ends in one month only by the will of someone who cannot help resorting even to falsely ‘glorious’ words for his argumentations, of course one is led to believe, if ever he should not have fully understood it yet, that the war in question were not inevitable at all.

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