BALLADE DES DAMES DU TEMPS
JADIS
BYE BYE IN BLUE: BALLAD
(WELL) AFTER VILLON
François Villontr. Martin Sorrell
Dictes moy ou, n'en quel pays,
Est Flora la belle Rommaine?
Archipiades ne Thaïs
Qui fut sa cousine germaine?
Echo parlant quant bruyt on maine
Dessus riviere ou sus estan
Qui beaulté ot trop plus qu'humaine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

Ou est la tres sage Helloïs
Pour qui chastré fut et puis moyne
Pierre Esbaillart a Saint Denis?
Pour son amour ot ceste essoyne.
Semblablement ou est la royne
Qui commanda que Buridan
Fust geté en ung sac en Saine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

La royne Blanche comme lis
Qui chantoit a voix de seraine?
Berte au grant pié, Bietris, Alis,
Haremburgis qui tint le Maine
Et Jehanne la bonne Lorraine
Qu'Englois brulerent a Rouan,
Ou sont ilz, ou, Vierge souvraine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

Prince, n'enquerez de sepmaine
Ou elles sont, ne de cest an,
Qu a ce reffrain ne vous remaine:
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?
Where's Flora Foster Jenkins now, eh? Tell
Me. Not Carnegie Hall! And where the hell
's that Archie Shepp (he's gone, big joke, to ground),
And Thelonius Monk who vanished round
Midnight in an echo of minor key
Riffs, and his cousin-in-music Gerry
Mulligan, that elegant riverrun
Flowed by? Yeah, where have all the flowers gone?

Heloïse to Abelard: 'Sing to me
A low, low song.' One orchidectomy
Later he's way up on the treble clef
And still climbing. They should say love is deaf
Not blind. Blind is pianoman George Shearing,
Full moon smile... Where now the hard-of-hearing
Johnny Ray, and the quietly flowing Don
Cherry? Yeah, where have all the flowers gone?

Remember those dames, the gratefully dead
Julia Lee, wild Bessie Smith, Mildred
Bailey, and poor-white-trash Janis Joplin
Slave-howling twelve to a bar, mainlining
Horse? And Lady Day, street-girl on No Choice
Boulevard? Strange fruit hanging out. Her voice
Rang like a bell and went a mile, said John
Mercer. Yeah, where have all the flowers gone?

Each one of us, man, we all got to go.
So here's our last number, a slow-tempo
Ballad we've called Bye Bye in Blue... A-one
A-two... Yeah, where have all the flowers gone?

Click here 4 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright Martin Sorrell 2002


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