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France – Looking Forward Posted by on Nov 3, 2020 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

Last week I promised a change of pace, so while the world continues to grapple with Covid, this week I’ll keep the coverage to a minimum. Someday this global pandémie (pandemic) will be over and we’ll be ready to get back to life.

En attendant / until then

As the numbers continue to grow, France, after just 10 days of trying le couvre-feu, has re-instituted nationwide quarantine rules. Less stringent than last time, the new rules have nonetheless already started to impact life around the country. Today is also Election day in the United States. And while a record number of people have already cast ballots, the world will be watching today … and I’ll be casting my vote!

What next?

No one quite knows when this will all end, but thinking about what comes next can help us to get through the unknown. When it is over, I know one of the first thigs I’m going to do is to go see all of les gens que j’aime (y compris en France!) (the people who I love, including in France!).

J’aurais pu traîner le long de mes rêves I could have lingered along the edges of my dreams (a poetic way of saying “I could have lounged in bed all day … “)
J’aurais pu, l’air de rien I could have, just like that
Attendre ici que la journée s’achève Waited here for the day to end
Sortir le chien, si j’en avais un Take out the dog, if I had one
J’aurais pu m’inventer des inventaires I could have invented inventories
Refaire et faire le point Taken stock and retaken it
Mais ce matin j’ai bien plus cher à faire But this morning I have more important to do
Bamdabadabam Bamdabadabam
Ce matin, j’irai dire aux gens que j’aime This morning, I’ll go tell the people I love
Ou juste merci d’être ceux qu’ils sont Or just thanks for being what they are
Qu’ils changent mes heures amères en poèmes That they transform my bitter hours into poems
Et tous ces mots que nous taisons And all those things that we keep quiet
Ce matin, j’irai dire aux gens que j’aime This morning, I’ll declare to those I love
Oh! Comme ils comptent pour moi chaque instant Oh, how they matter to me in every moment
Des mots doux c’est mieux qu’un beau requiem Kind words are better than a requiem
Et les dire c’est important And saying them matters
Et dire avant tant qu’il est temps And say it before it’s time / too late
On veut toujours attendre la prochaine We always want to wait for the next
Remettre au lendemain Put off till the next day
C’est bien plus simple d’émettre des haines It’s so much simpler to put out hate
Bien anonymes tapis dans son coin Anonymously huddled in one’s corner
Et coulent nos vies et l’eau des fontaines And our lives flow on like the water in fountains
La vie du quotidien Daily life
Et passent les jours et puis les semaines And the days go by and then the weeks
Bamdabadabam Bamdabadabam
Ce matin, j’irai dire aux gens que j’aime This morning, I’ll go tell those I love
Ou juste merci d’être ceux qu’ils sont Just a small thanks for being who they are
Qu’ils changent mes heures amères en poèmes That they change my bitter hours into poems
Et tous les mots que nous cachons And all the things that we keep hidden
Ce matin, j’irai dire aux gens que j’aime This morning, I’ll go to the people I love
Oh! Comme ils comptent pour moi chaque instant Oh, how they count in my life each instant
Des mots doux c’est mieux qu’un grand chrysanthème*  Kind words are better than a big chrysanthemum
Et le dire c’est important And they are important to say
Le rappeler de temps en temps Remember it from time to time
J’aurais pu traîner le long de mes rêves I could have lingered along with my dreams
J’aurais pu l’air de rien I could have an air of nothing
Attendre ici que la journée s’achève Waiting here for the day to end
Bamdabadabam Bamdabadabam
On devrait dire aux gens quand on les aime We should tell people when we love them
Trouver les phrases, trouver le temps Find the words, find the time
Qu’ils changent nos heures amères en poèmes That they change our bitter hours into poems
On devrait tout se dire avant We should say it all before
Il faut le dire aux gens quand on les aime You have to tell people when you love them
Comme ils comptent pour nous chaque instant How they count for us at every moment
Les mots doux c’est mieux qu’un beau requiem Kind words are better than a requiem
Et tant qu’on est là bien vivant And as long as we’re here, alive
Tout se dire tant qu’il est temps Say it all while there is still time

* In France, les chrysanthèmes are the traditional flowers of mourning. Around the Toussaint1A very different Toussaint this year due to both Covid and the reinforced security at churches following the recent attacks in France. you will find them on tombs in French cemeteries. The tradition, according to this article, dates from la Grande Guerre when the most readily available flower to mark the armistice (en novembre) was the mum (which grows in the fall).

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris