Lune

I admire the way that Carla Bruni opens her heart to us with the greatest frankness and sincerity.  On this understanding, I form the idea that, in this poem, Carla is telling us of her emotions on those days when her husband’s presidency of France was seen to be reaching its end.  She talks of the strains of office aggravated by the  bitterness encountered.  Party politics in France seems to have a destructive virulence even stronger than in the U.K.  Then she goes on to tell us of the disorientation of the total break when the previously all-absorbing lifestyle is suddenly extinguished with electoral defeat.

Previously Carla has told us that, at the end of each day, she gives herself some time alone for quiet reflection.  During these moments, although she does not follow any formal religion, she finds herself falling on her knees and praying.

The moon has always provided an emotional focus for poets and lovers; the windows of the somewhat lonely Bruni childhood home looked out upon its gardens and dunes, invisible to the adult.  The song "Lune" describes movingly how, in this fraught period of Carla Bruni's life, the moon brought solace during her moments of lone nocturnal contemplation.


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Lune oh douce lune 
Dis-moi quel sera mon destin 
Dis-moi quel sera ma fortune
Lune oh jolie lune
Où sont passés tous mes jardins
Et mes fenêtres sur tes dunes
Dis moi si de là haut tu entends
Nos vies quand elles se brisent 
Quand elles se plient
Quand elles s'épuisent
Ou quand elles rient

Lune oh pauvre lune
Tu as dû en voir des grands chagrins
Des solitudes des amertumes
Lune tendre lune
Tu dois savoir ce qu'il en est 
De nos terreurs et de nos brumes (1)
Tout ce qui nous réchauffe un jour s'éteint
Tout ce qui compte ne vaut plus rien
Oh lune éclaire notre chemin


Lune je n'ai rien appris 
Ni de la mort ni de la vie
Ni de la tristesse infinie
Mais lorsque je te vois rire
Il me vient envie d'espérer

Lune oh ronde lune
Tu es notre mère désemparée
Nos vents, nos merveilles, et nos écumes (2)
Lune oh blonde lune (3 )
C'est que nous sommes dépassés
Et nos vies tremblent comme des plumes
Mais il nous reste encore des nuits d'été
Et tes étoiles et ta beauté
Et toi si douce, un oreiller


Lune je ne crois en rien 
Ni aux dieux ni aux chiens
Ni à l'avenir incertain
Mais lorsque je te vois briller 
Il me vient envie de prier



  

 

Moon oh gentle Moon

Tell what my destiny will be

Tell me what my fortune will be


Moon oh pretty moon

Where have all my gardens gone to

And my windows onto your dunes

Tell me if from up there you can hear

Our lives when they’re breaking

When they’re bending

When they’re done in

Or when they laugh

 

Moon oh poor Moon

You must have seen great grief in all that

Much solitude and bitterness

Moon tender moon

You must know just what it is like

With our terrors and with our shrouds

All that warms us is one day turned off

All that matters no more worth a thought

Oh moon, light up the path we take.

 


Moon I’ve learnt not a thing,

Either of death or of living

Or of the sorrow unending

But when I see you laugh

I happen to feel like hoping

 

Moon oh round moon

You're our mother  at her wits' end

Our winds, our marvels, our swirling foam

Moon oh bright Moon

It’s just that things overwhelm us

And our lives shiver like feathers

Yet we have still left some summer nights more

And all your stars and your beauty

And you so soft for a pillow.

 


Moon I believe in nothing

Neither in gods nor in dogs

Nor in the uncertain future

But when I see you shining

I happen to feel like praying.




 Translation points
1)
"nos brumes" - this would translate « our mists », but I was not happy with the effect in English.  As I take the word to mean things hidden from the public eye, I am suggesting the word “shrouds”

2)
"nos écumes"- The word means froth, foam  - "scum" is the English derivative and it still has this meaning also in French. 
 This line gives the contrasting images of the moon to humanity - the wonder it inspires - its control of the prevailing winds  -  perhaps thirdly its control of the tides. The idea of tide would fit well as the subject is a tidal change in their lives.  
More honestly, I should confess to being baffled by this image.
  • As a teacher I have to point out the oddity that É in French often becomes S in English. For example:

     

    Écume -->Scum  / étape --> step  / étage --> stage  / épeler --> to spell  / épine --> spine  / école --> school  / épice --> spice

3)
"blonde lune" – I was uneasy with the image of the moon being blond.  However my Robert dictionary told me of the wider usage of “blond” in French.  I read that when wheat and sand is “blond”, the English translation should be golden.  I take the idea of brightness to be the main idea.



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