Translation from English

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cool Translation- and how hard that is- Guillaume Apollonaire, " Sous Le Pont Mirabeau Coule La Seine" by A.Z. Foreman

I never know when I am going to find myself remembering favorite poems or song lyrics ( a Bee Gees tune, not a well known one, came to me when it warmed up a little the other day and my knee pain was overwhelmed by a need to get out for a nice long brisk walk)

For some reason I have been puzzling over how to translate this one poem from French

Voila, the internet-- this translator does REALLY WELL, which is rare, and so good I have to share it here ( by the way, the poet in question, supposedly coined the term "Surrealism" and was more than a little bit, well, off his rocker if you ask me but then we discussed here before on this blog the problem of how you judge the work of an artist and reconcile it with the deeds and attitudes etc.I also think M. Apollonaire was very much into the well -established old avant garde thing --beginning with Alfred Jarry maybe--of thinking always of how to " epater les bourgeois", or scandalize the complacent, traditional French audience. He was of the sort who would love a good theater riot on opening night...)

But this poem ( known as a song, really, the internet tells me) has nothing shocking about it and I feel is rather beautiful

Guillaume Apollinaire: The Mirabeau Bridge (From French)

The Mirabeau Bridge
By Guillaume Apollinaire
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click here to hear me recite the original

Below the Mirabeau bridge there flows the Seine
So too our love
Must I recall how then
After each sorrow joy would come again

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

Let us stay hand in hand face to face
While down below
The bridge of our embrace
Roll the waves weary of our endless gaze

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

Love goes away the way the waters flow
Love goes away
How life is long and slow
How hope of life can deal so strong a blow

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

The days the weeks are passing from our ken
Neither time passed
Nor love can come again
Below the Mirabeau bridge there flows the Seine

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay


The Original:

Le Pont Mirabeau

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
L'amour s'en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure