Casse Pompon by Jacques Brel: English Translation

Below is my poetic translation of ‘Casse Pompon’ 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.

Casse Pompon (Poetic Translation)

Verse 1:

My friend’s a big man, he’s enormous!

He likes the trumpet and the bugle

But he prefers the bugle

Which is a trumpet in uniform!

My friend’s one of the best

And he says without pretension

That “The sliminess of the peelings

Shows the greatness of nations!”

Chorus:

Subsequently, subsequently

Subsequently, I don’t understand

Why his friends, so I’ve heard,

Call him, they call him: “Corporal Ballbreaker!”

Verse 2:

My friend’s a man of many words

In his garden, when summer comes

You should see him plant his machine guns,

Dig his trenches, and place his guards

My friend’s a man full of laughs

And he’s always ready for a blast

He made a joke and I’ll recount it just for you:

“Ichshallaffennaziroseauprellenzu!”

Chorus:

Subsequently, subsequently

Subsequently, I don’t understand

Why his friends, so I’ve heard,

Call him, they call him: “Corporal Ballbreaker!”

Verse 3:

My friend, he loves to reminisce

For him, London’s a big target

And Berlin’s a little bed of flowers

That goes from Moscow to Madrid

And he dreams of Paris in spring,

Where he’ll march at the head of his pack

And single like all the the 21 year olds:

“Drop your pants Gretchen

So I can fuck your ass!” 

Eins, zwei!

Chorus:

Subsequently, subsequently

Subsequently, I don’t understand

Why his friends, the French soldiers,

Call him, they call him: “Corporal Ballbreaker!”

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