Monday, March 9, 2009

Qui Sait? by Daniel Lavoie, sung by Marie-Pierre Arthur

Okay. I am justifying this post on a book blog because I have also been known to post about poetry. To me, this song is poetry. I was listening to Marie-Pierre Arthur's self-titled album on the way to work this morning, mostly in the background because honestly, I only know a little bit of French. But when this song came on my attention was riveted, the same way it was when I was half-listening to CBC's A Propos on the way home from work one evening.

I wish I could find the lyrics translated, because automatic translators bungle the poetry badly, and I can't play the audio file that is Jim Corcoran translating the song, because my computer doesn't have RealAudio. Which is a hugely annoying thing, CBC, by the way. I shouldn't have to download a freaking ram file, which is not as widely used as say, mp3.

But here are the French lyrics. I know just enough French to get the gist. It is a beautiful, melancholy song about love and loss and regret, and Arthur's rendition of it is haunting. She reminds me a little bit of a Francophone Jenn Grant.

Qui sait? (Daniel Lavoie)

Qui sait ? Peut-être, je n'ai pas de tête,
Juste un tout petit trou, par où
Je vois les étoiles de temps à autre.

Qui sait ? Peut-être, je n'ai pas de tête
Mais une toute petite brèche dans un mur,
D'où vient la rumeur des gens.

Qui sait ? Peut-être je n'ai pas de cœur,
Juste un petit moteur sans chaleur
Qui chante sa chanson en mineur.

Qui sait ? Peut-être je n'ai pas de cœur,
Juste un tout petit bruit qui me fait peur la nuit,
Dans le silence, entre les heures.

Si j'avais juste la moitié d'une tête,
J'entendrais tes appels au secours.
Cette moitié me suffirait pour savoir ce qui t'a blessé
Et si j'avais juste la moitié d'un cœur,
Je verrais tes cernes au petit jour. Cette moitié me suffirait
Pour comprendre le mal que je te fais.

Qui sait ? Peut-être que je n'ai pas d'âme,
Juste une toute petite flamme, l'écho d'une étoile,
Morte depuis des millions d'années.

Qui sait ? Peut-être que je n'ai pas d'âme, non, même pas de flamme,
Juste une ombre, un vide, une petite pièce sombre,
Le creux entre deux lames.

Si j'avais juste la moitié d'une âme,
Je pourrais voler bien plus haut.
Je verrais tes yeux éteints, je saurais faire ce qu'il faut.
Si j'avais juste une poussière d'âme, je n'pourrais jamais tout briser
Mais je ne sais pas t'aimer et je te fais pleurer.

Qui sait ? Peut-être je n'ai pas de tête,
Juste un tout petit trou par où
Je vois les étoiles de temps à autre.

Qui sait, peut-être je n'ai pas de cœur,
Juste un tout petit bruit qui me fait peur la nuit,
Dans le silence, entre les heures.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here you go. Here is my translation of this song. Better than the automatic translator, but I'm not good enough to keep the beauty of the original.

Qui sait? (Daniel Lavoie)


Who knows ? Maybe I have no head
just a tiny hole from which
I see the stars from time to time

Who knows ? Maybe I have no head
just a little crack in a wall
from which I can hear rumors

Who knows ? Maybe I have no heart
Just a cold little motor
which sings a song in a minor key


Who knows? Maybe I have no heart
just a soft noise that scares me at night
in the silence between the hours


If I had only half a head
I would hear your cries for help
this half would be enough to know why you suffer
and if I had only half a head
I would see the shadows under your eyes, in the morning light. This half would be enough
to understand the hurt I am causing you


Who knows ?, maybe I have no soul
just a tiny little flame, the echo of a star
extinct for million of years

Who knows ?, maybe I have no soul, no, not even a flame
just a shadow, an empty space, a little dark room
the pause between two tears


If I had just half a soul
I could fly so much higher
I would see the shadows in your eyes, I would know what I must do
if I had just a speck of soul, I wouldn't ruin everything
but I don't know how to love you and I make you cry

kiirstin said...

Ahhh! lovely, thank you, that's beautiful. Much, much better than the automatic translators!

jukea said...

not to be pedantic, but I think "la rumeur des gens" is more to be understood as murmur than rumor.

2nd meaning here :

http://www.linternaute.com/dictionnaire/fr/definition/rumeur/

Paroles said...

Daniel Lavoie is a wonderful author/composer and poet in his own right, but he did not write lyrics for this particular song. Thierry Séchan wrote the lyrics, while Daniel composed some wonderful music for them.

kiirstin said...

Thank you for the correction! I definitely prefer to give credit where credit is due. I found it hard to find any English information when I first posted this entry, so I appreciate the help!