A poem by Verlaine

When I was at primary school in France  we used to learn  poems by heart andt we had to  recite  in front of the whole class. We also had to copy the poems and illustrate them with one of our own drawing. as I was quite a poor artist, I would ask my mother to do it for me. I used to hate the process but I still remember some of the poems that I learnt then. Here is one of them.

Chanson d’automne de Paul Verlaine

Les sanglots longs

Des violons

De l’automne

Blessent mon cœur

D’une langueur


Tout suffocant

Et blême, quand

Sonne l’heure,

Je me souviens

Des jours anciens

Et je pleure;

Et je m’en vais

Au vent mauvais

Qui m’emporte

Deçà, delà,

Pareil à la

Feuille morte.

Here is the English translation. There are many different versions but I like this one as it is very close to the original but still conveys the melancholy of the French version.

Autumn song by Paul Verlaine

The long sobs

Of autumn


Wound my heart

With a monotone


All breathless

And pale, when

The hour sounds,

I remember

Former days

And I cry;

And I go

In an ill wind

Which carries me

Here, there,

Like a

Dead leaf.

This poem by Verlaine is mentioned in a beautiful and heartfelt song by Serge Gainsbourg entitled Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais, released in 1973.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem as much as I enjoyed it. See you soon with another poem from my childhood.


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