Juliette Gréco - Les dames de la poste (English translation)

English translation

The post office ladies

I am the shame of the town.
I am the one who finds all doors closed.
Useless girls like me
are better given a wide berth.
They pretend they don't recognize me
because I've had several lovers,
but behind every curtain
there are eyes spying on me.
I am the bane of the families,
the outrage of all decent people.
Old maids shudder to think of me
Schoolkids fill their dreams with me
The post office ladies
walk out by threes
as they leave the office
at three past six sharp.
The post office ladies
go arm in arm.
People always greet them,
while when I walk
down the street,
nobody ever greets me.
Nobody loves or even sees me.
Decent people point fingers at me.
The post office ladies
walk out by threes
as they leave the office
at three past six sharp.
The post office ladies
go arm in arm.
People always greet them,
while they won't greet me.
They said the lawyer's son
killed himself for me.
Deep down I know he just did it
to annoy his father.
And still they're all mad at me,
as if I had something to do with it.
And now they are all in a huff with me,
just because I dress in black.
No, I don't put lipstick on.
I wear silken shirts and stockings.
Too bad for all the haters,
there's a man at home every night.
The post office ladies
walk out by threes
as they leave the office
at three past six sharp.
The post office ladies
in their cold beds
dream of post stamps,
while I dream
dreams of youth,
dreams of caresses.
I love life, I love love,
and I know someday
they'll find among
stamps and post orders,
still at their post,
at three past six sharp
the post office ladies
sprawled across the floor,
dead in their post office,
while I'll be alive and kicking!
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.
Glad if it's for knowledge or understanding, sorry if it's just for money or fame.
Submitted by petit élève on Mon, 23/10/2017 - 06:54
Added in reply to request by EddieA
Last edited by petit élève on Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:52
Author's comments:

Francis Blanche was a wonderful writer, and one of the funniest actors of his generation.


Les dames de la poste

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Gavin    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:07

Silken shirts (plural)

I think "because I've had several lovers" sounds a little better than "I had" in this case. Even though it mean much the same thing.

laidies - ugly broads eh? (extra 'i')

He he - "Sp(r)eadeagled! Regular smile
I like that but it's maybe an even funnier image than intended. Is it quite what you meant? Lying on their backs with arms and legs akimbo. Is it not more like "arms outstretched". I dunno - maybe it's best as it's pretty funny. Just fix the typo. Regular smile

petit élève    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 13:59

thanks. Pretty funny song, isn't it ?

"les bras en croix" is basically the same as "spreadeagled", i.e. arms outstretched at a right angle with the body. The lying on the floor is kind of implicit in case of corpses Teeth smile
maybe you thought of "les bras croisés" ?

Gavin    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:06

Ah no, I looked into it and I got the sense that it's the arms stretched out - so the body is in the shape of a cross. It's that 'spreadeagled' usually means the legs too (so the body in the shape of an 'X'). So it can sound a bit sexual. Which makes the image even funnier to me so it's no bad thing! Teeth smile

petit élève    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:12

I suppose "with their arms spreadeagled/outstretched" would be more precise, but that would weaken the punch.

Gavin    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:16

Yeah I agree - it just made me laugh when I read it. But it is meant to be funny anyway Regular smile

petit élève    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:21

For all the humour, the song gives a good idea of the kind of social pressure women had to endure up until the 70's. Worth remembering once in a while, I think.

Natur Provence    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:23

I don't think that a "sexual image" is correct in this context. It is not the singer(who has enough men at home) but the old ladies in the post office: they are the contrary of sexy (and surely not spreadeagled).

petit élève    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:29

I agree. To me the French rather evokes someone who died from a stroke.
The important thing is to make it sound funny, I think. "all curled up on the floor" (like dead insects) might work too, maybe ?

Gavin    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:45

Maybe 'sprawled' across the floor - that's pretty funny.

I think the "in the shape of a cross" has a rather pious sound, but I might just be reading that into it because of "cross"

You could use 'prostrate' - that usually indicates someone laying themselves out flat, arms outstretched.

qu'est-ce que t'en penses?

petit élève    Tue, 24/10/2017 - 14:51

"sprawled across the floor" seems OK to me. Same picture, no sexual image.