Jacques Prévert

Simple Beauties

(Jacques Prévert's poetry)


Remember Barbara
It rained relentlesly on Brest that day
And you walked smiling
Beaming ravishing drenched
Under the rain
Remember Barbara
It rained relentlesly on Brest that day
And I ran into you in Siam Street
You were smiling
And I smiled too
Remember Barbara
You whom I didn't know
You who didn't know me
Remember that day still
Don't forget
A man was taking cover on a porch
And he cried your name
And you ran to him under the rain
Beaming ravishing drenched
And you threw yourself in his arms
Remember that Barbara
And don't be mad if I speak familiarly
I speak familiarly to everyone I love
Even if I've seen them only once
I speak familiarly to all who are in love
Even if I don't know them
Remember Barbara
Don't forget
That good and happy rain
On your happy face
On that happy town
That rain upon the sea
Upon the arsenal
Upon the Ushant boat
Oh Barbara
What stupidity is war
Wwhat has become of you
Under this iron rain
Of fire and steel and blood
And he who held you in his arms
Is he dead and gone or still so much alive
Oh Barbara
It's rained all day on Brest today
As it was raining before
But it isn't the same anymore
And everything is wrecked
It's a rain of mourning terrible and desolate
Nor is it still a storm
Of iron and steel and blood
But simply clouds
That die like dogs
Dogs that disappear
In the downpour drowning Brest
And float away to rot
A long way off
A long long way from Brest
Of which there's nothing left.

First Day

The white blankets in the closet
The red blankets in the bed
An infant in his mother
His mother in pain
The father in the corridor
The corridor in the house
The house in the city
The city in the night
The death in a cry
And the infant in the life


An orange on the table
Your dress on the rug
And you in my bed
Sweet gift of now
Crisp cool of night
Passion fire of my life

Translated by Chuck Perrin