The Mirabeau Bridge, Paris

Le Pont Mirabeau is the name of a bridge in Paris. And also, it is a poem. A very beautiful poem, written by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). I had first read it when I was in the second year of my graduation in French. That was when I was developing keen interest in poetry, and this was one of the poems that made me want to read more and more of it.

Its sad that sometimes we can’t read some great works in their original language, because, even though how accurate, something gets lost in translation. But I was lucky enough to have been able to read and understand this one particular poem. Here is the original French version :

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
            Et nos amours
       Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
 
     Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
     Les jours s’en vont je demeure
 
Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
            Tandis que sous
       Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse
 
     Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
     Les jours s’en vont je demeure
 
L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
            L’amour s’en va
       Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente
 
     Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
     Les jours s’en vont je demeure
 
Passent les jours et passent les semaines
            Ni temps passé
       Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
 
     Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
     Les jours s’en vont je demeure

And here is the English translation for the same :

 

 Below the Mirabeau bridge there flows the Seine
As for our love
Must I recall how then
After each sorrow joy would come again

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

Let us stay hand in hand face to face
While down below
The bridge of our embrace
Roll the waves weary of our endless gaze

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

Love goes away the way the waters flow
Love goes away
How life is long and slow
How hope of life can deal so strong a blow

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

The days the weeks are passing from our ken
Neither time passed
Nor love can come again
Below the Mirabeau bridge there flows the Seine

Let night come toll hours away
Days go by me here I stay

The poet is contemplating about life and love, in reference to the bridge. He talks about the fact that days and months and years go by ; life changes ; lovers come and go and yet time never ceases to flow. Just like the river Seine under the bridge. The poem has a very bitter sweet feeling to it. The words strike a cord in the heart and one thought comes to the mind – How similar is what we humans feel, even in different eras. How fragile is the heart and that what it feels. How nature inspires great thinkers, and how just looking at a river flowing by, we learn and contemplate about life.

Everytime I read this poem, I had this thought in my mind . Such great words!, I thought to myself. And then one day, I was lucky enough to be there, from where this poem gets its inspiration. The same place where the poet had often strolled in the previous century . Well, that is the charm of Paris. If you’re a keen reader and poetry enthusiast, you can literally trace the steps of your favourite French writers, most of who have been inspired by this magical city. And when I stepped outside and started walking towards the bridge, my mind suddenly started recalling the words of the poem that I had read a few years ago. And I could see, with my very own eyes, that what had inspired such breathtaking poetry.

The Eiffel Tower, from the Mirabeau Bridge, Paris. December 2014.

The Eiffel Tower, from the Mirabeau Bridge, Paris.
December 2014.



It was one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris. When we talk about Parisian bridges, we immediately think about the love locks bridge. But this , I would day, is much more beautiful. And what makes it beautiful is the wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. Yes, The Eiffel Tower. Probably one of the most hyped monuments in the world. But it does have some inexplicable feeling to it. Just looking at it, all lit up in the evening sky, as the sun was just about to set, I was filled with a rush of emotions. And thoughts came running to my mind, as I looked upon that beautiful river, The Seine, and the play of colours in the Parisian sky on that December evening.
And in that moment, I saw it with my own eyes – that what had inspired such incredible poetry.

The River Seine, flowing under the Mirabeau Bridge , Paris. December 2014.

The River Seine, flowing under the Mirabeau Bridge , Paris.
December 2014.

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