Week 157: From ‘Gabriel Péri’, by Paul Éluard

Gabriel Péri was a member of the French Resistance executed during World War II. These lines are from a poem written in his memory by the French poet Paul Éluard (1895-1952). The translation that follows is my own.

Gabriel Péri

Il y a des mots qui font vivre
et ce sont des mots innocents
le mot chaleur le mot confiance
amour justice et le mot liberté –
le mot enfant et le mot gentillesse
et certains noms de fleurs et certains noms de fruits
le mot courage et le mot découvrir
et le mot frère et le mot camarade
et certains noms de pays de villages
et certains noms de femmes et d’amis
ajoutons-y Péri
Péri est mort pour ce qui nous fait vivre

Paul Éluard

There are words that give us life
and they are innocent words
the word warmth the word trust
love justice and the word freedom
the word child and the word kindness
and the names of certain flowers certain fruits
the word courage and the word discover
the word brother and the word comrade
and certain country names of villages
and certain names of women and of friends
let’s add to them Péri
Péri who died for these that give us life.

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