Ne Me Quitte Pas - aug 25th, 2012

I have become addicted to watching this video of Belgian actor/singer/songwriter Jacques Brel singing his composition Ne Me Quitte Pas. It’s such a mesmerizing performance that mixes sadness and despair with hope, and I think that’s an emotional combination many of us can relate to, especially these days. Tho the song has been popularized in America as If You Go Away, none of the versions or translations are very satisfying. So I thought I would take a couple of hours and make my own translation from the French. You can read my version of his words, then watch his riviting performance HERE.

don’t leave me . . . please
can’t we just forget everything that happened in the past?
the misunderstandings, the moments we foolishly wasted
trying to measure up to some blissful ideal
it’s all behind us anyway
don’t leave me don’t leave me
I will bring you pearls of rain
that come from far off lands where it never rains
I will comb the Earth until the day I die
to collect golden rays of light
to clothe your body
I will create a kingdom where love will be the law and rule all
where you will be Queen
don’t leave me don’t leave me
I’ll invent a language which only you will understand
and I’ll tell you about those lovers
who saw their passion flicker and flare
again and again
I’ll tell you the story of this lonely king
who died because he couldn’t find you
don’t leave me don’t leave me
sometimes it happens that
a spent volcano erupts anew
or a scorched field suddenly bursts forth
flush with wheat
like the most abundant April ever
and when sunset comes
don’t the crimson and blackness
blend into each other setting the sky ablaze?
don’t leave me don’t leave me
don’t leave me
I don’t want to cry anymore
I don’t want to talk anymore
just hide me over there
so I can watch you smile and dance
and listen to you sing and laugh
just let me become
the shadow of your shadow
the shadow of your hand
the shadow of your dog
anything . . . only
don’t leave me don’t leave me
don’t leave me

– translation by Chuck Perrin