At last the secret is out

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The above is the title of a poem by the English poet, W.H. Auden, which Carla Bruni has here made into a song .

These verses would seem to have particular resonance at present, in the early years of the 21st century, when the media’s major role seems to be to wash the dirty linen of others and titivate the reader with a constant flow of allegations in all directions; a time when we are fed daily with alarmist prognostications to build up our fears, when paranoia is becoming the operative mode.

Auden’s poem, however, is not on the political level but on the personal level where the same forces are equally destructive.  It is directed at those who have the need to unearth wrongs with everything and everyone around them.  Their malicious wagging tongues do not need substantial evidence, because they have the authority of the gossips’ clichés:  “It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to be wary of my dear” – “There’s no smoke without fire”  - “There’s always something going on that we don’t know about”.

It is true that some real events or some changed behaviour which we might observe can arouse our interest even if it is none of our business but the absurdity is that every item, however innocent or normal can become evidence in support of the casual malice.  The mention of the kiss and the handshake is a reminder that the worst damage that gossip causes is in human relationships.

As this is a French/ English website, I have put my translation into French in column two.





At last the secret is out,
As it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell
To tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and into the square
The tongue has its desire;
Still waters run deep, my dear,
There's never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir,
Behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances
And the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue
The attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story,
There is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing,
High up on the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes,
The sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer,
The handshake, the cough, the kiss, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret,
A private reason for this.

(At last the secret is out,
At last the secret is out)


Enfin le secret est connu,
Comme il le fallait toujours a la fin,
L'histoire juteuse est mûre pour raconter
Pour la raconter à l'amie intime ;
Sur les tasses de thé, et même dans la place
La langue atteint son désir;
« Il n'est pire eau…, ma chère »
« Il n'y a jamais fumée sans feu. »

Derrière le cadavre dans le lac,
Derrière le spectre sur les links,
Derrière la dame qui fait une danse
Et l'homme qui follement trinque.
Au-dessous l’air de fatigue
La crise de migraine et le soupir
Il y a toujours une autre histoire,
« Les dessous, on ne voit pas. »

Pour la voix claire qui soudain chante,
Là-haut sur le mur de couvent,
Le parfum des buissons sureau,
Les gravures sportives dans le hall,
Les matchs de croquet en été,
La poignée, la toux, le baiser, (le baiser)
Il y a toujours un mauvais secret,
Une raison privée pour ça

(Enfin le secret est connu,
Enfin le secret est connu)

This song is on Carla Bruni's   second album "No Promises,".  It was released in January 2007 and the songs were in English.