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Bleuet1

Poulenc (1939)

Jeune homme
De vingt ans
Qui as vu des choses si affreuses
Que penses-tu des hommes de ton enfance

Tu
connais
la bravour et la ruse

Tu as vu la mort en face plus de cent fois Tu ne sais pas ce que c'est que la vie2

Transmets ton intrépidité
A ceux qui viendront
Après toi

Jeune homme
Tu es joyeux ta mémoire est ensanglantée
Ton âme est rouge aussi
De joie
Tu as absorbé la vie de ceux qui sont morts près de toi
Tu as de la décision
Il est 17 heures et tu saurais
Mourir
Sinon mieux que tes aînés
Du moins plus pieusement
Car tu connais mieux la mort que la vie
O douceur d'autrefois
Lenteur immémoriale

Guillaume Apollinaire

1The word is also a diminutive of "bleu", a popular name for a soldier.
2This long line was printed diagonally across the page.

Cornflower

 

Young man
of twenty years
who has seen such dreadful things
what do think of the men of your childhood

you
know
valour and cunning

you have seen death in the face more than a hundred times You do not know what life is

pass on your fearlessness
to those who will come
after you

young man
you are happy your memory is drenched in blood
your soul is red too
with joy
you have absorbed the life of those who died close to you
you have resolution
it is five o'clock and you would know how
to die
if not better than your elders
at least with more piety
for you know death better than life
o sweetness of former times
immemorial slowness

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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