Tag Archives: sad

‘Avec le temps’ by Leo Ferre

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
On oublie le visage et l’on oublie la voix
Le coeur, quand ça bat plus, c’est pas la peine d’aller
Chercher plus loin, faut laisser faire et c’est très bien

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
L’autre qu’on adorait, qu’on cherchait sous la pluie
L’autre qu’on devinait au détour d’un regard
Entre les mots, entre les lignes et sous le fard
D’un serment maquillé qui s’en va faire sa nuit
Avec le temps tout s’évanouit

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
Même les plus chouettes souvenirs, ça, t’as une de ces gueules
A la gallerie j’farfouille dans les rayons d’la mort
Le samedi soir quand la tendresse s’en va toute seule

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
L’autre à qui l’on croyait pour un rhume, pour un rien
L’autre à qui l’on donnait du vent et des bijoux
Pour qui l’on eût vendu son âme pour quelques sous
Devant quoi l’on s’traînait comme traînent les chiens
Avec le temps, va, tout va bien

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
On oublie les passions et l’on oublie les voix
Qui vous disaient tout bas les mots des pauvres gens
Ne rentre pas trop tard, surtout ne prends pas froid
Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
Et l’on se sent blanchi comme un cheval fourbu
Et l’on se sent glacé dans un lit de hasard
Et l’on se sent tout seul peut-être mais peinard
Et l’on se sent floué par les années perdues, alors vraiment
Avec le temps on n’aime plus

These are the lyrics to one of my very favourite French songs, ‘Avec le temps’ (In Time) and for me, it is absolutely poetry. Leo Ferre (1916-1993) was a prominent singer in France from the 50s right up the the 1980s.

This song is about how love can dissipate with time. As time passes, says the song, our love and passion can often wilt and finally die. However, it is the manner in which Ferre sings the song (as I hope you will see if you watch the video below) that I find absolutely hypnotic. His expression is so poetical; you can really feel the import of each word as he sings it (and each word is so loaded). What I love most about this song is near the end when he sings “et on se sent tout seul peut etre, mais PEINARD!” I love the way he cries out — almost shouts — that word, peinard, which means “comfortable” or “hunky dory”. Paradoxically, the singer’s indignation at the death of his passion seems to spark an incredible anger and passion, which he uses to express what has happened.

I just think that this is an incredible song, with wonderfully poetical lyrics. I have tried to translate it below, but I found it a very hard task and am still not happy with it. However, I don’t think that it matters too much; the best thing really is to read the translation to have the meaning, and then listen to the song to really hear the poetry. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I do!


My translation

In time …
In time, it goes, everything goes away.
We forget the face and we forget the voice,
The heart, when it stops beating, there’s no point
Searching any further, you must let it go and that’s good.

In time…
In time, it goes, everything goes away.
The Other, who we adored, who we searched for in the rain;
The Other, who we guessed with one look,
Between words, between the lines and beneath the make-up
Of a masked vow, who goes off for the night…
In time, everything vanishes

In time …
In time, it goes, everything goes away,
Even the best memories, the most incredible ones,
In the cheap shops I search the aisles of death,
On Saturday evening, when tenderness disappears.

In time…
In time, it goes, everything goes,
The Other, who we believed for silly reasons,
Tho Other, who we gave nothing and jewels,
For whom we would have sold our soul for a few pennies,
Who we followed around like dogs do,
In time, it goes; everything’s fine.

In time …
In time, it goes, everything goes.
We forget the passions and we forget the voices
Which whispered the words of poor people:
“Don’t stay out too late, and, especially, don’t catch cold.”

In time…
In time, it goes, everything goes away.
And we feel pale and grey like an old horse
And we feel frozen in a bed of chance,
And we feel all alone, perhaps, but comfortable.
And we feel fooled by the lost years

So, really,
In time we don’t love any more.

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh

‘Don’t go far off’ by Pablo Neruda

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.

Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

I really love this poem by Pablo Neruda. I feel bad about not reading it in the original Spanish, but my Spanish is very rusty these days, so this translation will have to do. As it happens, I think this is a wonderful translation, that reads absolutely beautifully…

So, from what I have read by Neruda, it is his love poems that excite me most. I love so many of them that it is difficult to choose which one to post on here first. This poem is achingly gorgeous. I love the image in the first stanza where the poet waiting for his absent lover as in an empty station, “when the trains are off parked somewhere else, asleep”. What a sweet, unique image; without his lover, the speaker feels completely lost, with no way of getting back to her. I love the pleading “Don’t go far off”, “don’t leave me” and “don’t leave me for a second”, because it displays how desperate we can all become, when we are truly in love. In this poem, one lover, without the other, feels himself to be “dying”. It’s so dramatic, and I love that!

In the second stanza of this poem I particularly like the image of “the smoke that roams looking for a home” (which so beautifully embodies loneliness) choking the speaker if his lover ever stays away too long. Even “for a second”, if his lover leaves him, the speaker will begin to wander through the world, choking on loneliness, disbelief, and “dying”. I love the drama of this poem — it’s what really attracts me to Neruda’s work.

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh

‘I thought of you’ by Sara Teasdale

I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea –
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.

Here is a poem by Sara Teasdale, whose work never fails to touch me with its simplicity and its beauty. This is, of course, a very sad poem, because it evokes a love that is in many ways impossible (the lovers will never meet again in this life). I think it delivers an incredibly true sense of what it is to be separated from the one you love, and describes so beautifully the simplicity of what it is we need or miss in that person when they are gone…

In the poem, the poet is walking along the beach “all alone”, surrounded by the “beauty” of the “echoing dunes,” and the “cold and sparkling silver of the sea”. The scene is beautiful, but nonetheless empty and cold, and her heart is full of the one who she longs to share her experience with. She tells us that she and her loved one will “pass through death and ages lengthen” before they can listen to the sound of the waves again together.

This a terribly sad scene that is presented in Teasdale’s poem, but what I love about this is the simplicity of what the speaker longs for. This is what we miss when our Other is far away: just their presence. All the poet wants in this poem is to hear the waves with him… to see this scene with him…  it’s just the togetherness that matters to her. I love this because there’s nothing fancy about it, and that feels real and true to me.

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh