Showing posts with label Les 400 coups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Les 400 coups. Show all posts

03 February 2023

Translation: Jacques Prévert The Clown

Les 400 coups, François Truffaut, 1959

This is Bora Mici's original translation of the poem, Le cancre or The Clown in English, by the French popular 20th century poet Jacques Prévert. Prévert was known for blending poetry and song, but this particular poem, beloved by French school children, briefly tells the story of how a young ne'erdowell, who fails to impress the classroom at the blackboard, finds a way to triumph and have the last word.   

The Clown by Jacques Prévert

He shakes his head no
but his heart tells him yes
he says yes to what he loves
but for the teacher won’t acquiesce
he gets up
to answer out loud
all the problems are laid out before him
suddenly he starts laughing at the crowd
and erases all
the measures and the names
the dates and the planes
the sentences and trick questions
and despite the teacher’s threats
with multicolored chalk
as the gifted children jeer
on the blackboard of fear
he draws the face of good cheer.