Mon Raymond

This is the song on Carla Bruni's new album (April 2013), which she wrote to her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, until recently President of France.  When the question was asked why her poem was called "My Raymond", the French press explained, not without sarcasm,  that " everyone knows, Raymond is an acceptable nickname for Nicolas".  
I think that sympathetic people understand that she would not wish to make her song too personal, when she performed it . -  And if she is an a milieu where she can sing the precise version of the song, "Nicolas" neatly substitutes for Mon Raymond.
Carla Bruni provides us with an insightful and novel character sketch of her husband and at the same time reveals sincere love. I liked the comment on You Tube, made by a French lady called Vanessa Amador, who reproached other commentators , who had merely written political abuse. Vanessa wrote:

Carla est une chanteuse, pas une femme politique, et cette déclaration d'amour est juste très belle.... Elle parle de l'homme qu'elle aime et pas de l'homme politique. Personnellement j'adore cette chanson, et je trouve que c'est une très belle manière d'exprimer ses sentiments.

(Carla is a singer, not a politician and this declaration of love is just very beautiful...She is talking of the man she loves and not the politician.  Personally, I adore this song, and I find it a very beautiful way of expressing her sentiments.)



YouTube Video







My Raymond gets things sorted, there’s genuine value in that


For crossing the Rubicon, you can’t say that he hangs back


My Raymond is the big gun, he is the bomb atomic,  

When he lets loose, good heavens, the air turns electric from it,

The air turns electric from it.


My Raymond he is complex, tender  but premedit'tive


My Raymond holds course in all situations of crisis


My Raymond, it’s he who’s the boss, it’s he who runs the show.

And though he wears a necktie, my Raymond is a pirate


My Raymond is a pirate, yes


He storms aboard for his prize, as if staking his life

for it

As if he staking his skin, as if the world was just fine.


He says that  life is a stake, and has to be lived standing

Or else to be lived on your knees,

Raymond nothing disheartens  him, no.

Raymond nothing disheartens  him, no.


My Raymond has the gift to win over all kinds of factions

When he talks it’s enthralling, misunderstandings are dispelled

He just he knows how to talk, Raymond, he can lead the dialectic

Whatever fools may say, Raymond is dynamite, Yes


Raymond, he is just dynamite 


My Raymond is not from here and no-one else  has his ways

Either of saying or doing or tasting happiness

My Raymond he is unique, with eyes as of a mouse.

With his very foreign looks,  Hungarian Jew from S'lonika


Sometimes Raymond falls silent, it comes on like a sadness

One feels that he’d  like to chew on a few crumbs of tenderness

One feels that he would like to take a walk, and leave his fortress behind

One feels that it would like to taste of some kind of earthly sweetness.

Of some kind of earthly sweetness.


HeyRaymond !  Here  are for you, a few semi brèves

and some quavers

A few rhymes of my choice, sweet and hot as a brioche


Something’s telling me Raymond, that despite all the honours

And the fine position you hold,  you must run short of sweetness

So here is my  song, my  song for you, Raymond

My  song for you, Raymond

My  song for you, Raymond



Mon Raymond il a tout bon, c'est d'la valeur authentique



Pour franchir le Rubicon, on n'peut pas dire qu'il hésite

Mon Raymond il est canon, c'est de la bombe atomique 

Quand il déboule nom de nom, l'air en devient électrique


L'air en devient électrique


Mon Raymond il est complexe, sentimental  mais tactique

Mon Raymond reste dans l'axe, en toute situation critique

Mon Raymond c'est lui le patron, c'est lui qui tient la boutique

Et bien qu'il porte une cravate, mon Raymond est un pirate

Mon Raymond est un pirate, oui


Il prend tout à l'abordage, comme s'il y jouait sa vie


Comme s'il y jouait sa peau comme si le monde était beau


Il dit qu'la vie est un gage, qu'il faut la vivre debout

Ou bien la vivre à genoux,

Raymond rien ne le décourage, non

Raymond rien ne le décourage, non.


Mon Raymond l'a du talent, pour séduire tout genre de clique

Quand il cause c'est saisissant, les confusions se dissipent

C'est qu'il sait causer Raymond, il manie la dialectique


Quoi qu'en disent les bouffons. Raymond c'est d'la dynamite, oui

Raymond c'est de la dynamite






Mon Raymond il vient d'ailleurs et personne n'a ses manières

Ni de dire ni de faire, ni de goûter au bonheur

Mon Raymond il est unique, avec ses yeux de mésange


Avec ses airs de métèque, Hongrois juif de Salonique

 (Note 19 below)

Quelquefois Raymond se tait, il lui vient comme une tristesse


On sent qu'il aimerait croquer, quelques miettes de tendresse

On sent qu'il aimerait s'promener, et quitter sa forteresse


On sent qu'il aimerait goûter à quelque douceur terrestre

À quelque douceur terrestre



Hey Raymond voilà pour toi, quelques rondes

et quelques croches

Quelques rimes de mon choix, douces

et chaudes comme une brioche

Quelque chose me dit Raymond, que malgré tous les honneurs

Et puis ta belle situation tu dois manquer de douceur


Alors voici ma chanson, ma chanson pour toi, Raymond

Ma chanson pour toi, Raymond

Ma chanson pour toi, Raymond




Carla Bruni with her Raymond, when he was Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France




Carla Bruni with her Raymond, when he was Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France




Students of French might be interested in my rough translation notes


(1)           Avoir tout bon means to get everything right

(2)           franchir le Rubicon = to make a very crucial decision.  Wikipedia explains the origin of this phrase : « If a Roman general entered Italy whilst exercising command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. Generals were thus obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy. In 49 BC, G. Julius Caesar led one legion, the Legio XIII Gemina, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he (deliberately) broke the law on imperium and made armed conflict inevitable. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est ("the die has been cast").[

(3)           Raymond il est canon =  In English, we talk of the canons of the church, meaning the set rules by which Ecclesistical matters will be judged.Raymond is thus the standard that we should seek to emulate. The paragon. But there is also the first meaning of a weapon  and this is the theme of these lines.

(4)           Quand il déboule – débouler means to roll down quickly like a bowl that has been launched.  Get rolling

(5)           Nom de nom is an exclamation originally blasphemous. Strewth !

(6)           Tactique means that he carefully plans his actions. Scheming, resourceful

(7)           dans l'axe – L’axe is the axis, point of reference, the pivot.  Etre dans l’axe means to be on course

(8)           Il prend tout à l'abordage - prendre à l’abordage means, continuing the pirate image,  to capture another ship by sailing alongside and sending over an armed boarding party. He heaves to and takes his prize

(9)           Comme s'il y jouait sa peau – jouer sa peau means to risk your life as if his skin depended on it

(10)         un gage- a wager

(11)         clique – clique, set, a number of peole grouped in an intrigue, an interest group

(12)         Saisissant – gripping, exciting

(13)         Manier – to handle, manipulate, to ply

(14)         La dialectique- the dialectic.   All the argumentative approaches used in a discussion

(15)         goûter a quelque chose – to taste, to sample, have a sip

(16)         ses yeux de mésange – (tit)mouse.

(17)         Métèque – a foreigner , a stateless person 

(18)         Hongrois – Hungarian

(19)           de Salonique = Wikipedia tells us :The city of Thessaloniki (also known as Salonika) housed a major Jewish community until the middle of the Second World War. It is the only known example of a city of this size in the Jewish diaspora that retained a Jewish majority for centuries.  The Jews had immigrated to the city following their expulsion from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs,  Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon under the Alhambra Decree of 1492.   During World War II, the German Nazis occupied Greece in 1941, and started to persecute the Jews. In 1943 they forced the Jews of Thessaloniki into a ghetto near the rail lines and started deporting them to concentration and labour camps, where most of the 60,000 deported died.  Only 1200 Jews live in the city today.

(20)         quelques rondes – semibreves - musical notes

(21)         Croches- musical quavers

(22)         Brioche – Brioches, these French buns are now, perhaps, equally well-known at  British breakfast tables