Friday, March 13, 2009

Fat Morning

This poem by Jacques Prévert is originally entitled "La Grasse Matinée", which is an idiom for staying late in bed. I played a bit with a translation found online, but if you really want to get a gist of what this piece can be, you have to find the theatrical recording by Marianne Oswald. "Café crème," she grinds, with the piano being silly in the background, "café crème, café crème, café crime!! arrosé sang."

You know what, I've just located it for you. It's here. Do yourselves a favor and listen to it as you read.

It is dreadful,
the small noise made by the hard boiled egg being cracked against a zinc counter
It is dreadful that noise
when it resounds in the memory of the hungry man
The head of the man is also dreadful to behold
The head of the man who is hungry
when he stares at himself at six o'clock in the morning
in the window of the big store
A head the colour of dust
Yet it is not his head that he is looking at
in the window of Potin's
He does not care about his head, the man
He does not think about it
he dreams
he imagines another head
A calf's head for instance, in vinegar sauce
or the head of anything that's edible
and he moves his jaws gently
and he grinds his teeth gently
because the world is mocking him
and he can do nothing against that world
He counts on his fingers: one, two, three
it's been three days since he last ate
and even though he repeats to himself "three days
it cannot go on"
it does go on
three days
three nights
without food
and behind those windows
those pâtés, those bottles, those preserves
dead fish protected by tins
tins protected by windows
windows protected by the policemen
policemen protected by fear
What a lot of barricades for six miserable sardines
A little further - the bistro
cream coffee and hot croissants
The man staggers
and within his head
a fog of words
a fog of words
sardines to eat
hard boiled egg cream coffee
coffee drenched with rhum
cream coffee
cream coffee
crime coffee, drenched with blood!
A man, well-respected in the neighbourhood,
has had his throat slit in broad daylight
The homeless murderer has stolen from him
two francs,
which make one coffee with a top up
zero francs seventy five
two slices of bread and butter
and twenty five centimes tip for the waiter.
It is dreadful,
the small sound made by the hard boiled egg being cracked against a zinc counter
It is dreadful that noise
when it stirs in the memory of the hungry man.

No comments: