Tu n'en reviendras pas (English translation)

English translation

You won't come back from there

You won't come back from there, you who used to chase the girls,
the young man whose naked heart I saw beating
as I ripped your shirt off. And you won't
come back either, you the old card player
whom a shell sliced in two.
The one time you had a killer hand.
And you, the guy with tatoos, former legionary,
you'll survive a long time without face nor eyes.
We head off for God knows where, it borders on nightmare.
We'll slide down the line of fire.
Somehow it doesn't look much of a game anymore.
The blokes up there are awaiting replacement.
The train of last glimmers rumbles in the distance.
The slumbering soldiers, shaken by the dance
let their foreheads sink and bend their necks.
It smells of tobacco, wool and sweat.
Looking at you, I can't help but see your fates.
Brides of the earth and grooms of pains.
The trench lamp paints you the colour of tears.
You feebly drag your condemned legs.
Already, the stone thinks of where your name will be written
Already, you're nothing but a golden word on our town squares
Already, the memories of your love fades away
Already, you only exist because of your demise.
Submitted by Guest on Wed, 20/06/2018 - 02:32
Added in reply to request by gamgin
Author's comments:



Tu n'en reviendras pas

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Please help to translate "Tu n'en reviendras ..."
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Gavin    Wed, 20/06/2018 - 15:59

I like this one very much. And it's a new one to me - I really need to listen to more Léo Ferré

It reads pretty great already - some of the English is a little unusual though. Consider these as possible although non-essential suggestions...

I think that first line could use another article - You who used to hit on the girls (or chase the girls)
And then add a "The" to the start the next line.

"whom a shell cut in two midriff."
It's good but not very idiomatic (whom is correct but sounds so formal now)
Maybe just: "Sliced in two by a shell"

And yet for once you had a smashing hand =>The one time you had a smashing (or killer) hand

former Légionnaire => the former legionary - (unless there's a reason to keep Légionnaire)

We head off God knows where to = We head off for God knows where

Already, you're nothing but a golden word on our squares - Maybe "Town squares" to be clear. Although I guess it's obvious after a moment's thought.

petit élève    Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:17

Thanks a lot. Yes, it's a beautiful poem.

Sophia_    Sun, 15/07/2018 - 16:55

Another video