Sudden remembrance of Jacques Prévert’s poems

Remembering Jacques Prévert’s poems that I loved when youngster.


Quel jour sommes-nous
Nous sommes tous les jours
Mon amie
Nous sommes toute la vie
Mon amour
Nous nous aimons et nous vivons
Nous vivons et nous nous aimons
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c’est que la vie
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c’est que le jour
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c’est que l’amour.


What day are we?
We are every day
My friend
We’re the whole of life
My love
We love and we live
We live and we love
And we don’t really know
What life is
And we don’t really know
What the day is
And we don’t really know
What love is

Poems of Jacques Prévert“, Alastair Campbell. Deep South v.3. n.1. (Autumn 1997)

Of course, a quick glance on the Web fetched quite some nice stuff. For instance this collection of poems from Paroles translated into English by none other than Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Which brings us to a very current one, Pater Noster, which Ferlinghetti took inspiration from for his Last prayer video (below).

Our Father who art in heaven
Stay there
And we’ll stay here on earth
Which is sometimes so pretty
With its mysteries of New York
And its mysteries of Paris
Worth as much as that of the Trinity
With its little canal at Ourcq
Its great wall of China
Its river at Morlaix
Its candy canes
With its Pacific Ocean
And its two basins in the Tuileries
With its good children and bad people
With all the wonders of the world
Which are here
Simply on the earth
Offered to everyone
Strewn about
Wondering at the wonder of themselves
And daring not avow it
As a naked pretty girl dares not show herself
With the world’s outrageous misfortunes
Which are legion
With their legionaries
With their torturers
With the masters of this world
The masters with their priests their traitors and their troops
With the seasons
With the years
With the pretty girls and with the old bastards
With the straw of misery rotting in the steel
of cannons.

— Jacques Prévert, Paroles. Translated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. City Lights Books, San Francisco 1958, 1990. Available here:

Ferlinghetti’s own City Light Bookstore in San Francisco posted on Scribd a selection online of poems from Paroles.

Now, Prévert reminds me the French chansonnier Jacques Brel. Here is the famed Les feuilles mortes (Autumn Leaves) sung by the great Yves Montand and then Jacques Brel singing Ne me quitte pas.


[Featured Image: “Riviera” flickr photo by geofroi  shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license]

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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