Prière

The melancholic melody of “Prière” was composed for Carla Bruni by her longtime friend and collaborator, Julien Clerc.  The words of the song are, as we have come to expect, a very personal statement from Carla.  In this poem she is telling us of her religious beliefs. 

Her song probably represents the views of many people in the modern world, who, while having little connection with religion as an organization, retain nevertheless a sense of spirituality.  In Carla this manifests itself in the need to spend some time alone in prayer, at the end of each day, when she speaks aloud to someone or something beyond herself, in the vastness of infinity.  From this she is able to gain real consolation and hope.

Pressed by the media, who no doubt scented a political faux-pas in her non-conformity which could be used to embarrass her husband, Carla Bruni spelled out her ideas with typical frankness and courage:

 « Je crois qu’il n’y a pas de sens à la vie. J’ai la vie de quelqu’un de laïque, bien que j’aie fait baptiser mes enfants. Je n’ai pas la pratique de la religion, mais celle de la prière, oui. Ça me parle. La prière, je la vois comme une incantation, un son, une voix… Dans un moment douloureux, où l’on est impuissant, il reste cette chose, cette espérance, et ça vous fait du bien. »

I believe that there is no meaning in life.  I have the life of someone secular, although I have had my children baptized. I do not practise any religion, except that of prayer, yes.  That has real significance for me.   Prayer, I see it as an incantation, a sound, a voice…..In a moment of sorrow, when one is powerless, there remains this thing, this hope and this does you good”.



YouTube Video


 

 

PRIÈRE

Quand se lève la nuit et que mon cœur se selle(1),

Au nom de l'infini (2)

Et que tombent en poussière les sagesses de midi

Quand il n'y a plus rien à croire ou à rêver par ici

Moi, je prie.

 

 

Je prie sans Dieu,sans foi

Sans paradis, sans croix

For the sound of a voice

At time of sorrow, caught on the barb of fate

comme d'autres crient, je prie.

 

Je prie sans Dieu,sans foi, comme les hors-la-loi

Sans Christ et sans Bouddha

An creux du tourment,dans l’oeil de l'ouragan,

comme d'autres fuient,

Moi, je prie

 

Quand au fond de ma poche je sens le trou de l'Âge

Comme la vie s'effiloche, comme elle nous endommage

Et comme elle nous arrache tendresses et paysages(4)

Et souvenirs aussi,

moi je prie  (5)

 

Je prie sans Dieu,sans foi

Sans paradis, sans croix

Sans Christ et sans Allah

Au creux du tourment,dans l'oeil de l'ouragan,

comme d'autres fuient,

Moi, le prie


 

Quand bien même je saurais la raison d'un poème

Ou la cause d'un effet, la clé du theorem

Quand bien même je voudrais avoir l'air d'une souveraine

A genoux chaque nuit

Moi, je prie


 

Je prie sans Dieu, sans foi,

sans paradis, sans croix

Pour le son de ma voix

Au temps du chagrin à la barbe du destin

Comme d'autres crient, je prie

 

 

Je prie sans Dieu, sans foi, comme les hors-la-loi

Sans Christ et sans Bouddha

Au creux du tourment, dans l'oeil de l'ouragan

Comme d'autres fuient,

Moi, je prie

 

When dark closes in and when my heart takes charge

In the infinite’s name

And when fall to dust the wisdoms of the height of day

When there’s nothing left around to believe in or dream about

I say my prayers.

 

I pray without God or faith

Without paradise or cross

Pour le son d'une voix

Au temps du chagrin à la barbe(3) du destin,

As others shout, I pray.


 

I pray without God, or faith, as the outlaws do

Without Christ or Buddha

In depths of torment, in the eye of the storm,

as others flee

I say my prayers.


 

When deep in my pocket I feel the hole of age

As life starts to fray,  as it takes its toll on us

And as it tears from us beloved things and places

And memories also,

I say my prayers.

 

 

 

I pray without God or faith

Without paradise or cross

Without Christ or Allah

In depths of torment,in the eye of the storm

As others flee,

I say my prayers.

 

 


Even though I might know the burden of a poem

Or the cause of an effect , the theorem’s key

Even though I would like to look like a sovereign

On my knees each night

I say my prayers.

 

 

I pray without God or faith

Without paradise or cross

For the sound of my voice

At time of sorrow, caught on the barb of fate

As others shout, I pray

 

 

 I pray without God, or faith as the outlaws do

Without Christ or Buddha

In depths of torment, in the eye of the storm

As others flee,

I say my prayers.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 




VOCABULARY NOTES


1)      mon cœur se selle – “Seller” means to saddle. – When I looked up this word in my French dictionary it warned me not to confuse “seller” with “sceller”– to seal or fix as both verbs sound the same.  I wonder whether Carla Bruni made a mistake as a heart becoming sealed is perhaps more meaningful than a heart becoming saddled


2)      l'infini – the infinite, infinity. This could mean the everlasting God, but as she does not believe in God as an entity, the abstract “infinity” shoul be retained.


3)      à la barbe = In fishing barbs are small hooks that fix in the fish’s mouth.


4)      paysage –French synonyms I was given were :bergerie, bucolique, campagne, carte, coup d'œil, décor, dessin, figure, horizon, marine, panorama, peinture, perspective, point de vue, scène, site, situation, sous-bois, tableau, verdure, vue


5)      moi je prie – In French the pronoun subject is emphasized by putting the emphatic pronoun in front.  In correct English, we emphasise by voice.  In relaxed English we say “Me, I pray” but grammarians frown.  I suppose correctly, we should say something like “For my part, I pray”.  But we need a brief line.

 


6)      La raison de – rather than « the reason of », I have chosen « the burden of », where burden means the message or overall meaning of a piece


 




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