LEADERS - not followers

Tuesday, July 13, 2010




Write a poem in the style of Prevert with some French sprinkles.
Please provide a translation if you are going to use big chunks of French .
I look forward to some very varied and interesting poems next week.
A toute a l'heure (See you later)

Prévert wrote about life in post-war Paris
I wrote about life in pre-millennium Manchester.
I also included my second-favourite French song
(after Voulez Vous, by Abba)
Dans le port d’Amsterdam
In French by Jacques Brel
And in English
(In the port of Amsterdam)
By David Bowie


Click to hear ‘Dans le port d’Amsterdam’ by Jaques Brel

“Voici comment je le vois…
Perte de temps
À mon avis
Elle est une perte de temps
À une supposition éclairée
Elle le voit… différentes
Mais je sais comment elle fonctionne
C’est comme ça…
Je ne perdrais pas mes temps
Je n’ai pas la patience
Mon parti est pris
Je suis déterminé
Comment sera-t-elle prendre?
Le temps nous dira
Je n’ai pas la patience
Je n’a même pas de soins
Vous voyez?
On doit penser
On doit observer
Gardez les yeux sur la balle
Et si elle était là
En face de moi
Bien en vue
Je ne perdrais pas mes mots
‘Je vous aime bien’
Et je dirais
‘Je veux que vous’
Et je dirais
Super chouette’
‘J’ai besoin de toi’
Et je dirais
Vachement chouette’
‘Je t’aime’
Et je dirais…
...'N’importe quoi'…”


Click to hear ‘In the port of Amsterdam’ by David Bowie

“Here’s how I see it…
Waste of time
In my opinion
She’s a waste of time
At an educated guess
She sees it… different
But I got her sussed
Right out
It’s like this…
I won’t waste my time
I don’t have the patience
My mind’s made up
I’m determined
How will she take it…?
Time will tell
I don’t have the patience
I don’t even care
There you go
You see?
Gotta think
Gotta observe
Keep your eye on the ball
And if she was right there
In front of me
In clear view
I wouldn’t waste my words
She would say
‘I like you’
And I would say
She would say
‘I want you’
And I would say
Well cool’
She would say
‘I need you’
And I would say
Really cool’
She would say
‘I love you’
And I would say…


  1. I'm going to have to look into this. i don't know French or this poet.

  2. Thanks Nessa; Maybe you'll come up with something for Bastille Day (Jul 14).

  3. Stan...Well done! No French exists in my vocab, other than pop culture movie words. The piece in English made me say "typical" at the end. ha! You are always clever. Your pieces glitter with insight.

  4. Thanks Brenda; 'Cool' or 'Whatever' are most people's attitude to just about everything.

  5. Stan I have to say it just seemed so much more romantic in French!
    You are clever indeed!

  6. Thanks Pamela; That's about as romantic as it gets in Manchester...

  7. Whatever.
    Is there a "male to human" translating application?
    I like the way things progress in this.

  8. Thanks Barbara; I think it would take a transplant - not a translation!

  9. This would make good lyrics to a song. N'est ce pas ?
    'Broken French'
    by Google Translator:)
    Quirky, modern and I love the Jacques Brel.I wish Bowie had sung it in French.Bet you were a punk rocker back then!Thanks for making such an interesting contribution. It makes me want to continue with more French prompts.

  10. Thanks Rall; I think I was still a punk rocker the last time I used any French... autrefois...
    Now I have half a dozen languages swimming round in my head - all of them broken...

  11. I always look forward to reading your work. I love this one,the conversation made me smile, think it would be a wonderful performance piece! Whatever!!!


  12. I think you might like this video, Stan.


    You did a great job writing a poem in French! Je conviens qu'il semble plus romantique en français, lol. Excellent!

  13. Language broken like romance? ;) Whatever, whatever and whatever...you provide valuable insight into a relationship I once had. Now I think I see how he saw me. Brilliant -- very Prevert. Sure have missed reading you, Stan. Your poetry often alters my perceptions.

  14. Stan, I really like the persona of the respondent, how he's mostly aloof until the the point we anticipate where he gives in. He does give in, right? She's trying really hard here...

  15. French is such a beautiful language, Stan, even if you just say, take out the garbage. The first poem looks amazing but alas, I can't understand any of it. The second poem is perfect. So many lotharios wander about mumbling cool and whatever!

    Your work is always first rate!

  16. Thanks to:
    Mary; This is the way his friends hear the story.
    Diane; I can still just about manage a conversation in French - not sure how well this reads.
    Linda; Some people can yake it or leave it - those who leave it are often the ones missing out.
    JDM; Put yourself in his place... (She had me at 'like').
    Marianne; It's the same the world over.

  17. Wow, very impressive. I was able to pick up a good amount of the French based on what I studied a long time ago, and the piece works very well in both languages.

  18. Thanks Francis; Not sure how I score on the French, but I kept it quite simple, so an educated second guess should work it out.

  19. Thanks Jingle; I'll take a look.