Juliette Gréco - Je suis bien (English translation)


Je suis bien

Et je n'aime plus personne
Et plus personne ne m'aime
On ne m'attend nulle part
Je n'attends que le hasard
Je suis bien
Au-dehors la nuit s'enroule
Tout autour de sa polaire
Au loin roucoule une foule
Plus méchante que vulgaire
Je suis bien...
Je m'invente des jardins
Écrasés de roses grises
Je brûle quelques églises
J'évapore quelques parfums
Je suis bien
J'effeuille mes anciens amants
Je mélange leurs prénoms
C'est drôle ils s'appellent tous Dupont
Les volcans que j'ai éteints
Je suis bien...
Je remonte la rivière
Du grand lit qui me vestibule
Un diamant tintinnabule
Au plus profond de mon verre
Je suis bien
Ma bougie fume ses éclairs
Un arbre pousse dans mon coeur
J'y va pendre les empêcheurs
Et je ne serai plus surnuméraire
Et je serai bien...
Je repense à des insultes
À des ennemis anciens
Tout ça ne me fait plus rien
Est-ce que je deviendrais adulte ?
Ce serait bien
Je n'entends que mon coeur de pierre
Ce soir je ne ferai ni la fête
Ni la belle, ni la bête
Même mes rides m'indiffèrent
Je suis bien
Et j'éteins
Je suis bien
Je suis malhonnête...
Submitted by EddieA on Wed, 06/09/2017 - 19:28
Last edited by Joutsenpoika on Mon, 11/09/2017 - 14:35
Align paragraphs
English translation

I feel good

And I no longer love anyone
And nobody loves me anymore.
Nobody awaits me anywhere,
I await nothing but fate.
I feel good.
Outside, the night wraps itself
all around its North Star1.
In the distance, a crowd is cooing,
with more meanness than rudeness.
I feel good...
I dream up gardens
laden with grey roses.
I burn down a few churches,
I boil off a few perfumes.
I feel good...
I flip through my former lovers2,
mixing up their first names.
Funny thing, the family name of all these volcanoes
I extinguished is always Smith3.
I feel good...
I swim up the river of
that great bed that encloses me4.
A diamond tinkles merrily
deep inside my glass.
A tree is growing inside my heart,
I'm going to hang all the fusspots there,
and I will no longer be surnumerary5,
and I will feel good...
I recall insults
and old enemies, and it no longer
bothers me either way.
Would I be growing up?
That would be good.
I hear nothing but my heart of stone.
Tonight I won't party6
nor act the beauty7 nor the beast.
I don't even care bout my wrinkles.
I feel good
and I switch the light off.
I feel good.
I'm not being honest...
  • 1. probably a pun on "polaire" also meaning "fleece jacket", though the night wrapping itself "around" a jacket does not work terribly well, in my opinion
  • 2. It's about male lovers, which tends to indicate the song was meant to be sung by a woman in the first place (LGBT concerns were still in a distant future when this was written).
  • 3. "Dupont" is the emblematic common French family name, though the most widespread is actually "Martin"
  • 4. Brel invents the verb "vestibuler" from "vestibule", which usually means "entrance hall" but also "vestibule" (a cavity inside the body) in medical terms. The image of the bed as a cavity enclosing the singer seems more likely to me, but that's debatable
  • 5. that's a word Brel has used a lot in this particular album. Might be the symbol of a dying man feeling already out of place among the living
  • 6. plays on two different meanings of "faire": "faire la fête"(party) and "faire la belle ou la bête"(act the beauty or the beast), while reffering to the tale "la belle et la bête" ("Beauty and the Beast)
  • 7. again "la belle" is meant for a female singer
This translation does not claim to be of any particular value.
Glad if you liked it, sorry if you didn't.
You can reuse it as you please.
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Submitted by petit élève on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 06:17
Added in reply to request by EddieA
Author's comments:

I could not pinpoint the origin of this song. Jacques Brel wrote the lyrics and sang them at least once, but it did not appear on any of his albums. Apparently it was meant for a female singer.
Though Brel wrote quite a few not so cheerful songs, I find this one especially dark and unsettling. It might be tied to Brel learning about the lung cancer that would eventually claim his life. Or maybe it's just me imagining things...

Idioms from "Je suis bien"
See also