Francis Cabrel - Dormir debout (English translation)

English translation

I had to be dreaming

I had to be dreaming, 1
not a word, not a movement,
The man who could save love 2
left without leaving an address.
Somewhere in the sky,
I wait for news,
but the stars are hazy.
As much rain falls
as all the love he deserves,
the man who ran after Lucie 3
left all the same a little quickly.
In the bad tales,
in the sandstorms,
the devil is everywhere.
I had to be dreaming.
...had to be dreaming
It’s a crazy story,
all this emptiness that you leave behind,
the man who could save love
left without leaving an address.
To the sky somewhere, difficult to see,
when you’re K.O.’d on you feet…
Millions of lights,
hung from the barriers,
Of this time which ruins everything,
like signals to tell him,
that there are already rivers,
in the middle of the deserts,
and of the fields of rocks,
and most of all that we keep for him
that we keep for him
his place amongst us,
...amongst us...
In our hearts,
for all the time we have left,
the man who could save love
left without leaving an address.
From deep in the sky,
to the walls of the hotels,
the stars are hazy.
I had to be dreaming…
I had to be dreaming…
I had to be….
  • 1. literally "asleep on my feet" but the meaning is more one of incredulity - a reaction to something unbelievable
  • 2. reference to his song "Sauver l’amour"
  • 3. another song - "Lucie"
Submitted by Gavin on Tue, 30/05/2017 - 13:15
Last edited by Gavin on Thu, 03/08/2017 - 12:02
Author's comments:

This song is for Daniel Balavoine the popular French singer who died in a freak helicopter crash in a sandstorm in 1986.


Dormir debout

petit élève    Tue, 30/05/2017 - 13:28

C'est une histoire de fous -> that's rather idiomatic: a crazy story, a crazy mess or maybe a madhouse
"je n'y comprends rien, c'est une histoire de fous" -> "I'm all at sea, it's a madhouse"

ce temps qui gâche tout -> it's debatable, but I rather understand "temps" as "time" here.
It's an evocation of all the fans lighting candles to mourn Balavoine, I suppose.

au milieu de nous -> rather "among us" or "right among us". I don't understand this as "within us(our hearts)".

Gavin    Tue, 30/05/2017 - 13:50

Ah thanks, those lights on the barriers were bothering me, but a candles lit to mourn him being lost to that passage of time it makes a lot of sense.

I started out with "amongst us" but switched it to "in our hearts" rather on a whim. I'll go back to my first instinct. :-)