La Grasse Matinee

Today I woke up and knew that i can’t be bothered to cook. I’m in one of my mercurial moods. My head is spinning after researching for my upcoming spring break. So I figure I shall do a little Rive Gauche, since it’s part of my homework anyway.


[Photo: source]

Faire la grasse matinee in french means to sleep in, to sleep further than you use to, or simply just to stay on bed long after you’re awake. But there’s a poem by Jacques Prevert (1900-1977) that I think is really beautiful in a smart way. You’ll see. Translation (mine) is below the original version.

La Grasse Matinee

Il est terrible
le petit bruit de l’oeuf dur casse sur un comptoir d’étain
il est terrible ce bruit
quand il remue dans la mémoire de l’homme qui a faim
elle est terrible aussi la tete de l’homme
la tête de l’homme qui a faim
quand il se regarde a six heures du matin
dans la glace du grand magasin
une tête couleur de poussière
ce n’est pas sa tête pourtant qu’il regarde
dans la vitrine de chez Potin
il s’en fout de sa tête l’homme
il n’y pense pas
il songe
il imagine une autre tête
une tête de veau par exemple
avec une sauce de vinaigre
ou une tête de n’importe quoi qui se mange
et il remue doucement la mâchoire
doucement
et il grince des dents doucement
car le monde se paye sa tete
et il ne peut rien contre ce monde
et il compte sur ses doigts un deux trois
un deux trois
cela fait trois jours qu’il n’a pas mange
et il a beau se répéter depuis trois jours
ca ne peut pas durer
ca dure
trois jours
trois nuits
sans manger
et derrière ces vitres
ces pâtés ces bouteilles ces conserves
poissons morts protégés par les boites
boites protegees pas les vitres
vitres protegees par les flics
flics proteges par la crainte
que de barricades pour six malheureuses sardines…
un peu plus loin le bistrot
cafe crème et croissants chauds
l’homme titube
et dans l’intérieur de sa tête
un brouillard de mots
un brouillard de mots
sardines a manger
oeuf dur cafe crème
cafe arrose rhum
cafe creme
cafe creme
cafe crime arrose sang!
Un homme très estime dans son quartier
a été égorgé en plein jour
l’assassin le vagabond lui a vole
deux francs
soit un cafe arrose
zero franc soixante-dix
deux tartines beurrées
et vingt-cinq centimes pour le pourboire du garçon.
il est terrible
le petit bruit de l’oeuf dur casse sur un comptoir d’étain
il est terrible ce bruit
quand il remue dans la mémoire de l’home qui a faim.

===
La Grasse Matinee (Literally, The Fat Morning)

It is terrible
the sound of hard boiled egg cracked on top of the metal counter
it is terrible this sound
when it evokes the memory of a man who is hungry
it is also terrible the head of this man
the head of this hungry man
what he sees at 6am
at the glass pane window of a big shop
a head in the colour of dust
but it is not his head that he sees
on the window of Chez Potin – a chain of food store
it is not his head he thinks about
he dreams
he dreams about another head
a veal head for example – a classic dish in french cuisine
with vinegar sauce
or head of anything that is to be eaten
and he move slowly his jaw
slowly
and he grinds his teeth, slowly
because the world is mocking his head
and he can do nothing against this world
and he counts on his finger one two three
one two three
it has been three days since he last ate
and it will repeat itself for the next three days
this can not last
and yet it lasts
three days
three nights
without eating
and behind this glass pane window
those pates those bottles those preserved food
dead fishes protected by the boxes
the boxes protected by the glass pane windows
the windows protected by the cops
the cops protected by the fear
that barricades the six unfortunate sardines
a little further from the bistro
coffee with cream and hot croissants
the man totters
and inside his head
a fog of words
a storm of words
sardines to eat
boiled eggs cream coffee
coffee infused with rum
cream coffee
coffee with cream
coffee with cream sprinkled with blood!
A highly esteemed man of the neighborhood
was slit at the throat on a broad day light
the killer the vagabond robbed him
2 francs
for coffee with alcohol
zero franc 70 cents
2 slices of bread with butter
and 25 cents tips for the little boy
It is terrible
the sound coming out from eggs cracked on the silver metal counter
it is terrible this sound
when it reminds the memory of a man who is hungry

– Jacques Prevet, Paroles
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