Léo Ferré – Friday November 13, 2015

Who wants to cry?

While washing the dishes earlier this evening with the radio on, this song came on. It’s called Avec le temps (With time), written and sung by Léo Ferré. It’s a French classic. Resting my dish mop on the counter, I turned up the volume then stood, transfixed, at the kitchen sink, listening intently. Halfway through I was weeping like a baby.  Honestly, I can’t think of a sadder song.

NEWS FLASH!! – Later, while sitting on my bed writing this post, scores of innocent people were being gunned down on the other side of Paris.  I had no idea until I turned on the TV (the loud and incessant sirens from police cars outside alerted me to the fact that something was amiss.) My tears, previously shed for Léo Ferré’s song, now fall for the victims and their families. Once again, the French capital is in the sights of terrorists.  A state of emergency has been declared in France and the borders are closed. We’re under siege.

Here are the lyrics with English translation below.  And the clip of Léo Ferré singing this sad song is at the bottom.

Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
On oublie le visage et l’on oublie la voix
Le cœur, 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
À la galerie 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.

With time …
With time, everything goes
We forget the face and we forget the voice
And the heart, when it’s not beating anymore, there’s no need to go on
You need to let go, and that’s just fine.

With time everything vanishes
And the one who we loved, who we searched for in the rain
the one we recognized on the corner with just one look
between the words, between the lines, and under the make-up
with a made-up oath the night is going away.
With time, everything disappears.

With time everything goes away
the one in whom we believed for nothing and anything
the one to whom we gave the wind & jewels, for whom we would have sold our soul for pennies
the one for whom we suffered like a dog
with time everything disappears

With time everything goes away
we forget the passion and the voice too,
the voice which told you quietly
“Don’t come home too late, be careful not to catch cold…”

With time everything goes away
and we feel tired as a worn-out horse
and we feel frozen like when in a stranger’s bed
and we feel lonely perhaps, but at peace
and we feel blurred by the lost years
Then really…with time…we love no more.

11 thoughts on “Léo Ferré – Friday November 13, 2015

  1. Oh my, Jules. I’m so sorry to hear this. Glad to know that you are all right. The CN tower in Toronto has been lit in red, white and blue in solidarity with Paris.

    • Thanks for your message, Lynette. Here, the Eiffel Tower has been darkened. We’re under lockdown. The mayor of Paris has urged residents to stay indoors. Sometimes I don’t want to be living here. I don’t feel safe. As you can imagine, there’s an atmosphere of extreme tension and anxiety here right now.

  2. Glad to hear you are safe. It will be interesting to see how France responds to all of this both within its own country and abroad. Please keep the commentary coming. Your voice is important. Why? Because in the States it is sometimes hard to see and understand the full scope of what is going on and how it will affect daily life in France. Thank you for your posts.

    • Dear K,

      I have, on occasion, spoken quite frankly and with criticism about the state of affairs in France (and elsewhere.)

      For example, after a gunman opened fire in a terrorist attack on an Amsterdam-Paris train in August 2015 (and was thwarted by those brave American soldiers), I strongly criticized the promotion of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism in Western mosques (all over Western Europe and in North America.) This is a big problem which hasn’t been addressed. Non-French imams are allowed to come to France and preach hate-filled invective to their congregations. Not in ALL mosques, of course, but in enough fringe mosques to radicalize unemployed, disenfranchized youths and do damage.

      Today there’s a lot of anger amongst French citizens. They don’t feel protected. Personally, I feel unsafe now in this country. If I didn’t have a good job, I’d leave. I’d return to Canada.

      Many French people are starting to wake up (after the Charlie Hebdo killings in January.) They’re pointing their fingers at the French government, past and present, and they’re asking questions. Again, they don’t feel protected. I guess I’ll do a blog post in a few days on this subject.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  3. It will be very difficult to eradicate a strong religious movement. Do we give them a piece of land and leave them alone? Or are they hell-bent on conquering the world? Not sure. And while bombing and attacking will be a temporary set-back, I think you are right in that each country has to identify and address these fringe elements seeping into their culture. The million dollar question is “how?”

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