Saturday, June 06, 2009

Verlaine's D-Day Poem

The first stanza of Paul Verlaine's Chanson d'automne was used to warn the French Underground that the Allied invasion of Normandy was immanent.

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m'emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a languor

All suffocating
And pale when
The hour strikes
I remember
The old days
And weep

And I go away
In the ill wind
that carries me off
This side and beyond
Like the
Dead leaf.


  1. Remarkable poem.... first heard it from the film " The Longest Day".... the hard road to the defeat of The Nazi's and free men & women in Europe was about to began ! Now coming on 66 years this June 6th 2010..... a note of deep personal thanks to all who made this horrible long day and successful one towards victory !

    CURRAHEE !!!!
    TCUNC76 !

  2. Yep, that's where I first heard it, too -- one of the best war films ever made, in my opinion. And Cornelius Ryan's book, on which the film was based, was also excellent.

    And the veterans of that longest day are getting fewer and fewer. Tempus fugit.

  3. Just out of interest, the photo you have of Churchill was before he was told the V sign that way round was an insult ( it means 'fuck off'). Later photos show him with his hand the other way round :)