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Chanson, France, French (Français), Pop, Singer-songwriter

“La Lettre” (Renan Luce)

Country: FRANCE

Verse: Em / C / Am / Em
Chorus: C / Em / C / Am / C / Em / C / Em
Capo 1


J’ai reçu une lettre, il y a un mois peut-être
Arrivée par erreur, maladresse de facteur
Aspergée de parfum, rouge à lèvre carmin
J’aurais dû cette lettre, ne pas l’ouvrir peut-être

Mais, moi, je suis un homme qui aime bien se genre de jeu
veux bien qu’elle me nomme Alphonse ou Fred
c’est comme elle veut

Des jolies marguerites, sur le haut de ces i
Des courbes manuscrites, comme dans les abbayes
Quelques fautes d’orthographe, une légère dyslexie
Et en guise de paraphe, “ta petite blonde sexy”

Et, moi, je suis un homme qui aime bien se genre de jeu
n’aime pas les nonnes et j’en suis tombé amoureux

Elle écrit que dimanche, elle sera sur la falaise
Où je l’ai prise par les hanches et que dans l’hypothèse
Où je n’aurais pas le tact d’assumer mes ébats
Elle choisira l’impact, trente mètres plus bas

Et moi je suis un homme qui aime bien se genre d’enjeux
ne veut pas qu’elle s’assomme car j’en suis tombé amoureux

Grâce au cachet de la poste d’une ville sur La Manche
J’étais à l’avant poste au matin du dimanche
L’endroit était désert, il faudra être patient
Des blondes suicidaires, il n’y en a pas cent

Et moi je suis un homme qui aime bien se genre d’enjeux
veut battre Newton car je suis tombé amoureux

Elle surplombait la manche quand je l’ai reconnu
J’ai saisi par la manche, ma petite ingénue
Qui ne l’était pas tant au regard du profil
Qu’un petit habitant lui faisait sous le nombril

Et moi je suis un homme qui aime bien se genre d’enjeux
veut bien qu’il me nomme “Papa” s’il le veut

“THE LETTER” (Original English Translation by ORS, 2012)

I received a letter, a month ago perhaps
arrived by error, clumsiness of the mailman
sprayed with perfume, carmine lipstick
this letter, I should have not opened it perhaps

But, me, I’m a man who likes this type of game
don’t mind that she calls me Alphonse or Fred
it’s whatever she wants

Some pretty daisies above on top of the i’s
Some curvy handwriting like in the abbeys
Some spelling mistakes, a light dyslexia
and instead of a signature, “your sexy little blonde”

And, me, I am a man who likes this type of game
don’t like the nuns and I fell in love

She writes that Sunday, she will be on the cliff
where I took her by the hips, and hypothetically
where I would have enough tact to assume responsibility for my playing-around
She will choose the impact, thirty meters lower

And, me, I’m a man who likes these kind of stakes
don’t want her to take herself out ’cause I fell in love

Thanks to the postmark from a town in La Manche
I was at the out-post on the Sunday morning
The place was deserted, one will need to be patient
Suicidal blondes – there aren’t hundreds of them

And, me, I’m a man who likes these kind of stakes,
want to beat Newton ’cause I fell in love

She was overlooking the English Channel when I recognized her
I seized by the sleeve my little naive one
who was not so naive, looking at her profile
that a little inhabitant was forming under her navel

And me, I’m a man who likes these kind of stakes
don’t mind that he calls me “papa” if he wants

Vocabulary and Etymology

la maladresse – clumsiness, awkwardness, mistake
le facteur  – mailman; also “factor” and “maker”
asperger – to spray, sprinkle, splash; in Spanish asperjar and Portuguese aspergir, these verbs also mean “to sprinkle” as in holy water
le rouge à lèvre – lipstick
la marguerite – daisy; common word across Romance languages: Spanish margarita, Portuguese margarida, Italian margherita
le paraphe – initials, signature
la falaise – the cliff; also in Italian falesia and Portuguese falésia, but not Spanish (el acantilado)
la hanche – the hip; also in Italan l’anca
les ébats – the frolicking, love-making
l’enjeu (m) – stake; related to le jeu (the game); “game” and “stake” is the same in Spanish (el juego) and Portuguese (o jogo)
assommer – to knock out, stun, bore
le cachet de la poste – the postmark
La Manche  – name of area in Normandy and French term for “The English Channel”; also means “sleeve” which is common in Romance languages: manica (Italian) and manga (Spanish, Portuguese)
l’avant-poste – the outpost, vanguard
surplomber – to overhang
le nombril – the navel, belly-button

Grammar and Other Notes

Should have

In English, the construction “should have done” consists of the modal verb should +  auxiliary verb have + past participle of main verb.  In French, the order is quite different: auxiliary avoir in conditional tense + past participle of devoir + infinitive of main verb.

I should (not) have done
J’aurais dû faire (Je n’aurais pas dû faire)

The first stanza gives a good example of this construction in the negative form:

J’aurais dû cette lettre ne pas l’ouvrir peut-être
Lit: I would have should this letter not open it maybe
–> I should not have opened this letter perhaps

Here are the constructions in other languages:

Italian (same format as French)
Io (non) avrei dovuto fare

German (format also close to French)
Ich hätte (nicht) tun sollen

Spanish / Portuguese (closer to English)
Yo (no) debería haber hecho / Eu (não) deveria ter feito

Я (не) должен был делать



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