I was singing and playing piano from my “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” songbook last night, and I was struck again (as I am every time) by the poetry and cleverness of his words and the beauty of his music. His language cuts to the soul, but there’s humor in the cynicism and hope in the sadness.
This is a selection of the lyrics from “J’Amais” (English translation)
You leaped buildings in single bounds
Although I well may ask you how
You bayed the moon just like a hound
I knew I adored you now
You laced the night with raging storms
You threw the lightning ‘cross the skies
You kissed my mouth with promises
You burned me with your lies
You loved me like a poet loves
My nights were made of stars and fears
Thinking that you would go away
And leave me only with my tears
I loved the towns where we made love
And the hotels where we played games
You thought I’d never live it down
Yet you see, I’ve forgotten your name
Here is Jacques Brel singing the song in French.
I love what an interesting face he has, and I can’t help but wonder how many extremely talented and fascinating and worthy and intelligent people get bypassed in today’s mass media culture because they aren’t deemed attractive enough as based on a very short list of standards. Depressing to think about.