IMAGE & POEM (APRIL 2010)

About CHANSONNIER

Recently,  France lost one of its most beloved and talented song makers, Jean Ferrat. Best known for his love songs, political chansons  and adaptation of French poet, Louis Aragon's verse into musical lyrics, he became more than just a caberet singer; he became a generational icon,  a voice that expressed the strength and vulnerability of our  human condition.

The beautiful portrait by Marie-France, depicting his  reflective demeanor and elegant maturation in later age, inspired me to write the poem.  Having listened to his expressive  deliverance of songs like "Ma France" ( My France) ,  "La Montagne"  (The Mountain) and "C'est Beau La Vie" (This Beautif Life),  I was deeply moved and strived to incorporate the essence of his voice into my own text.

Entitled, "Chansonnier", this verse symbolically parallels the flight of an evening swallow with the spiritual passing of the singer. The bird's wings turn the moment counterclockwise  and allows the soul of Jean Ferrat to journey through his past life and then into the next. The lines also highlight his love for Aragon's poem, " Elsa's eyes ", along with symbols of nature and Paris which breathed power into his most celebrated songs. With his death,  as Michel Drucker, one of France's most popular television presenters, so poignantly declared  -- "A whole part of France, a whole generation is mourning today,"   And so are all those people , globally, who knew him, heard him and related personally to  his message and his music.  Adieu, notre cher artiste, notre cher ami!


© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.