Jacques Brel - Les Biches (English translation)

English translation

The roe deer

Versions: #1#2
They are our first enemy
When they laughingly escape
From the pasture of boredom
The roe deer
With eyelashes like hair
Hair like (?)
And only the tip of their eyes
So much so that the hunter stops
And I know they turned hurricanes
Into poets
The roe deer
Whether we try to cast them away from our mind
Or we blush when they hunt us
They are our first enemy
Fifteen year old roe deer
They are our prettiest enemy
When they shine as flowers
And taste like fruit
The roe deer
That strut and show off their virtue
Whereas they cheat with their whole hear
Whereas they cheat with their whole body
When they nibble their husband
Or they take a bite at diamonds
On the blue asphalt of Paris
The roe deer
Whether we hunt them with rubies
Or they hunt us with our feelings
They are our prettiest enemy
The twenty year old roe deer
They are our archenemy
When they know how powerful they are
Let them know they are on borrowed time
The roe deer
When a hunter is a stroke of luck
When their beauty wakes up late
When they use all their knowledge
To cheat
Fooling boredom more than the stag
And one lover with another lover
Who is pleased with himself
Whether we hunt them to madness
Or they hunt us with the tip of their gloves
They are our archenemy
The more than 20 year old roe deer
They are our final enemy
When their bosom drop off to sleep
For they stayed awake too many a night
The roe deer
When they drag their feet uncomplaining
Like pilgrims on their way back home
When they cheat with all their past
In order for us to stay
At that time our only use
Is to help them stop growing old
The roe deer
Whether they hunt us because it is time to
They remain our final enemy
The too many year old roe deer
Submitted by fabfouk on Wed, 22/08/2012 - 14:19
Added in reply to request by snorio
Author's comments:

A beautiful text in French, a metaphor between the animal and women (biche means beautiful girl in Belgian slang).
However, I have no idea what "accroche faon" means... any help?

crimson_antics    Wed, 22/08/2012 - 14:23

Pour 'accroche-faon', ça doit être un jeu de mot avec 'faon', qui serait le petit de la biche...mais je vois pas ce que l'auteur a voulu dire =/

Gavin    Wed, 05/08/2015 - 12:53

I also would love an explanation of accroche-faon

accroche - from accrocher => to hang, to hook
or accroche (n) - attention grabbing

+ faon => fawn

Something along the eyes of doe-eyed possibly but I'm not quite getting it.

Gavin    Thu, 06/08/2015 - 14:19

Ok after some great input from petit élève I think I have some understanding...

It's a bit of Brel wordplay based on accroche-coeur - French for a "Kiss Curl" but literally a "heart catcher"

He substitutes "faon" - "fawn" a young deer.

So " en accroche-faon" is something in a style that hooks or snares the metaphorical young male deers or rather "the boys"

Their hair and eyebrows ensnare the boys.


petit élève    Thu, 06/08/2015 - 19:58

Thanks for the credit, but I am the one to be thankful here, for being reminded of this great song I had somewhat overlooked these past few years.
Listening to it again was a delicious taste of Proust's proverbial shell-shaped cookie :).

It even prompted me to try my own translation. Just toying with the idea of replacing some of the puns and symetries with English ones, stretching the meaning a bit if need be.

Gavin    Fri, 07/08/2015 - 09:17

I hope you do, I'd like to read that.

And thanks for "Proust's cookie" that took me on an interesting journey! :-)

petit élève    Fri, 07/08/2015 - 09:41

It's here already :).
I had to stretch my English though, so some bits might make little or no sense.
I'll be happy to have your input, both as a native and a Brel conoisseur :).