My Death By Jacques Brel: English Translation

“My Death”, originally titled “La Mort”, is one of Jacques Brel’s most covered songs. Most notable are the covers by Scott Walker and David Bowie, although the translation they used in their interpretations differs greatly from the original piece.

Here is my updated, poetic English translation of Jacques Brel’s “My Death”:

Lyrics:

My death waits like a maid at night,
At the swinging of the scythe,
To gather up the time that passes.
My death waits just like a princess
At the funeral of my youthfulness,
To remind me that time passes.
My death waits like Maleficent,
On the day that we wed,
To laugh at us as time passes.

But whatever lies behind death’s door,
There’s nothing I can do.
Angel or demon, I don’t care
Because in front of that door there is you.

Death waits for me under my bed
And stops me rising once I’m dead
He counts the clock until the time passes.
Death waits for me and for my friends
Who come to see me before life ends
Who tell me about the time that passes.
Death awaits in your cold hands
That close my eyes in the circumstance
That I’m lost to the time that passes.

But whatever lies behind death’s door,
There’s nothing I can do.
Angel or demon, I don’t care
Because in front of that door there is you.

Death awaits in the last leaves
Of the coffins that were once trees
Now nailed together by the time that passes.
Death awaits me in the lilies
That you lay on top of me
That beautify the time that passes.
Death awaits me in my bed
The sheets of oblivion over my head
That shield me from the time that passes.

But whatever lies behind death’s door,
There’s nothing I can do.
Angel or demon, I don’t care
Because in front of that door there is you.

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