“Le Pont Mirabeau” de Guillaume Apollinaire

Legend has it that this poem was inspired by the rupture between Apollinaire and the female painter Marie Laurencin, because he had to cross the Mirabeau bridge to go see her. In an ultra modern form, with short verses, a refrain that repeats throughout the poem like a song, and without punctuation, the poem speaks of the classic themes of the fatality of passing time and the pain of love.

1- Poem

Le Pont Mirabeau

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

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Le Pont Mirabeau.

2- Translation

Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine
And our loves
Must I remember them
Joy always followed pain

The night falls and the hours ring
The days go away I remain

Hand in hand let us stay face to face
While underneath the bridge
Of our arms passes
The water tired of the eternal looks

The night falls and the hours ring
The days go away I remain

Love goes away like this flowing water
Love goes away
Life is so slow
And hope is so violent

The night falls and the hours ring
The days go away I remain

Days pass by and weeks pass by
Neither past time
Nor past loves will return
Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine

The night falls and the hours ring
The days go away I remain

apollinaire.jpg
Guillaume Apollinaire

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Marie Laurencin