Vivre Debout By Jacques Brel: English Translation

Below is my poetic translation of ‘Vivre Debout’ by Jacques Brel. Particular attention has been paid to keeping the rhyme and flow of the piece while retaining the poetic origins of the French lyric.


‘Life, To The Full’

Here’s where I hide whenever the wind starts to rise
And blows that old sun through the skies, I cover my eyes.
Here’s where I hide from every new love that tells me they love me
Just like the last one and the one before that.
Here’s where I hide, here in the darkness
Where my shadow’s not so big.
It’s the shadow of the kisses I planted on you in my twenties.

Tell me: is it possible to live life to the full?

Here’s where I kneel, I’ve already dropped
From the weight of this cross that I can’t seem to shake off.
Here’s where I kneel, surrounded by the shiver
And the shards of glass from that old broken mirror.
Here’s where I kneel, all my hopes and my dreams
Have been turned into prayers
And all my prayers have gone unanswered
Because there’s nobody up there.

Tell me: is it possible to live life to the full?

Here’s where I lay; here in the arms of a young love
That I offered a flower and promised forever.
Here’s where I lay; here’s where I’ll lose my mind
Being so bored by this reflection of time.
Here’s where I’ll lay; and my desires won’t last ’till the end of the day
In this heat that the Devil’s prepared because he knows I’m defeated

Tell me: is it possible to live life to the full?

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