Remember Barbara
It was raining ceaselessly on Brest that day
And you were walking smiling
Beaming delighted dripping
Under the rain
Remember Barbara
It was raining ceaselessly on Brest
And I passed you in the rue de Siam
You were smiling
And me I was smiling the same smile
Remember Barbara
You who I didn’t know
You who didn’t know me
Remember that day anyway
Don’t forget
A man was taking shelter under an overhang
And he yelled your name
And you ran to him under the rain
Dripping delighted beaming
And you threw yourself in his arms
Remember that Barbara
And don’t be mad if I speak to you familiarly
I speak familiarly to everyone I love
Even if I’ve only seen them once
I speak familiarly to everyone in love
Even if I don’t know them
Remember Barbara
Don’t forget
This sweet and happy rain
On your happy face
On this happy city
This rain on the sea
On the naval arsenal
On the battleship
Oh Barbara
War is such stupidity
What’s become of you now
Under this rain of iron
Of fire of steel of blood
And the one who took you in his arms
Is he dead disappeared or yet still living
Oh Barbara
It’s raining ceaselessly on Brest
Like it rained before
But it’s no longer the same and everything’s ruined
It’s a rain of mourning terrible and desolate
There is no longer a storm
Of iron of steel of blood
There are only some clouds
Who die like dogs
Dogs who disappear
In the wind over Brest
And go to rot far away
Far away very far from Brest
Of which nothing remains.

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7 Responses to Barbara

  1. Bonangman says:

    “in the WIND over Brest”? Surely a stream of water, a current – perhaps from all the rain in the poem (although this time, thankfully , of water, not of iron, fire, steel, or blood), or perhaps an ocean current

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  3. ראובן says:

    Thank you for the translation.”Cette pluie sur la mer Sur l’arsenal Sur le bateau d’Ouessant”
    L’Arsenal is the area of Qais on the river. Le bateau d’Ouessant – is the line ship to the island Ouessant – in the west of Brest. “Au fil de l’eau” refers to the river and not the wind. But the image is not clear to me. Maybe the wind blows along the river so it takes the clouds far from Brest. Maybe the “present” of the poem is Autumn – a windy dry season

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  5. I love your translations but there was a small English grammatical error in this poem: “You who I didn’t know” should be “You whom I didn’t know”.

  6. Ashraf ul Alam Shikder says:

    Reblogged this on The Basho’s Pond.

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