homage to Friday, November 13, 2015

gorgeous france en pleurs


That Friday night, exactly two years ago, I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes – it was around 9 pm – and a beautiful but very sad song came on the radio. As I listened to it, my whole being became suffused with an overwhelming melancholy, a deep deep sadness. Unbeknownst to me and at precisely 9:40 pm on the other side of Paris, three gunmen wearing black and wielding AK-47s – apparently no older than 25 – began to fire, repeatedly and randomly, into the densely packed audience at the Bataclan concert hall. “It was a bloodbath,” a survivor said. Ninety dead, mostly young people as they were enjoying a concert. Simultaneously, other terror attacks were occurring around the city.

Here’s the text I wrote that night, two years ago –

Who wants to cry?

While washing the dishes earlier this evening, this song came on the radio. It’s called Avec le temps, tout s’en va (With time, everything goes), written and sung by Léo Ferré. It’s a French classic. Resting my dish mop on the counter, I turned up the volume and stood, transfixed at the kitchen sink, listening intently. I thought of my dead parents, of lost friends, and 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 the TV on (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.

Back to today, 2017 – here’s a timeline of the multiple terror attacks that unfolded on that horrific, bloody night –


If anyone’s interested in that sad song, the lyrics with English translation are below. At the bottom of the page is the audio clip of Léo Ferré singing the song.

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.

4 thoughts on “homage to Friday, November 13, 2015

  1. thank you Juliet, I too remember first seeing the alert on the web, and then the pain of realizing the depth of horror that was taking place in Paris…it was mid afternoon here in Santa Cruz but time stopped, disbelief turned into the new reality, thank you for the Leo Ferre, song a balm for the soul…this morning i woke to a sky filled with color and the old maple tree filled with leaves of yellow and red and i remembered the beautiful souls I will never know that left us on 11.13.15

    • Hi Cynthia, Thanks so much for your heartfelt comment. There’s just too much tragedy in this world of ours. Let’s enjoy each day as it comes, and mourn those who cannot share them with us; their lives cut too short for all the wrong reasons.

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