Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday

This one is a song actually, en Francaise. When I was a student at NID in the early 90s, I got it into my head to learn French. Because knowing so many other languages wasn't enough. I didn't have any time to spare during the week, so I started taking the all-day-Saturday class at the Alliance Francaise. It was an incredibly fun and immersive way to learn, and for a long while I was reasonably fluent in basic French (alas, too rusty now).

For our graduation, the students decided to do a variety show, and we acted out this song. I played the woman who is being propositioned by the guy in these sad, modern times.

La complainte du progrès

Autrefois pour faire sa cour
On parlait d'amour
Pour mieux prouver son ardeur
On offrait son coeur
Aujourd'hui, c'est plus pareil
Ça change, ça change
Pour séduire le cher ange
On lui glisse à l'oreille
(Ah? Gudule!)

Viens m'embrasser
Et je te donnerai
Un frigidaire
Un joli scooter
Un atomixer
Et du Dunlopillo
Une cuisinière
Avec un four en verre
Des tas de couverts
Et des pell' à gâteaux

Une tourniquette
Pour fair' la vinaigrette
Un bel aérateur
Pour bouffer les odeurs

Des draps qui chauffent
Un pistolet à gaufres
Un avion pour deux
Et nous serons heureux

Autrefois s'il arrivait
Que l'on se querelle
L'air lugubre on s'en allait
En laissant la vaisselle
Aujourd'hui, que voulez-vous
La vie est si chère
On dit: rentre chez ta mère
Et l'on se garde tout
(Ah! Gudule)

Ou je reprends tout ça.
Mon frigidaire
Mon armoire à cuillères
Mon évier en fer
Et mon poêl' à mazout
Mon cire-godasses
Mon repasse-limaces
Mon tabouret à glace
Et mon chasse-filous

La tourniquette
A faire la vinaigrette
Le ratatine-ordures
Et le coupe-friture

Et si la belle
Se montre encore rebelle
On la fiche dehors
Pour confier son sort

Au frigidaire
À l'efface-poussière
À la cuisinière
Au lit qu'est toujours fait
Au chauffe-savates
Au canon à patates
À l'éventre-tomates
À l'écorche-poulet

Mais très très vite
On reçoit la visite
D'une tendre petite
Qui vous offre son coeur

Alors on cède
Car il faut bien qu'on s'entraide
Et l'on vit comme ça
Jusqu'à la prochaine fois

Et maintenant, en Anglais (And now, in English. It's a little dated, and there are gaps in my translation [sorry!], but you get the idea!):

A complaint about Progress

To court, in the old days
There was talk of love
To further prove his ardor
He offered her his heart
Today, it's such
That's changed, it's changed
To seduce the beloved angel
He slid close to her ear
(Ah? Gudule!) (Ah? Gudule!)

Come, embrace me
And I will give you
A refrigerator
A nice scooter
A mixer
And a Dunlop pillow
A stove
With a glass oven
Heaps of forks and spoons
And pell' cakes

A tourniquette
To make vinaigrette
A nice exhaust fan
To blow out odors

Warm sheets
A waffle iron
An airplane for two
And we will be happy

Formerly it used to be
That when one quarreled
The air was left lugubrious
And the dishes left behind
Now, what is it that you want
Life is so precious
One says: return to your mother's home
And one keeps everything
(Ah! Gudule) (Ah! Gudule)

Say you're sorry
Or I'll take everything.
My fridge
My cabinet with spoons
My iron sink
And my poêl 'oil (?)
My cire-godasses (?)
Mon repasse-limaces (?)
My ice stool (?)
And my hunting-knife (?)

The tourniquette
To make the vinaigrette
The trash compacter (?)
And coupe-friture (?)

And if the beautiful one
Shows rebellion again
On the sheet outside
Is her fate entrusted

With the fridge
With the duster
With the stove
With the bed, always made
With the warm slippers
With the potato cannon (?)
With the éventre-tomatoes (?)
With the skin-on chicken (?)

But very very soon
One receives a visit
Of a small gesture
Who offers you the heart

Then one yields
Because it's best that one helps oneself
And one lives like that
Until the next time

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