Didier Delahaye presents the works of Georges Brassens

The Oak Tree


From the album Supplication to be buried on the shores of a faraway isle

The Oak Tree

He was living outside of the forestry trade Never had to worry about the axe’s blade He was growing content as ever can a tree The Oak Tree standing proud and free.

His days would have been blessed as crown of the forests Were it not for a neighbouring litter of pests Fabulist mouthy reeds who had heard a story About their kin and an oak tree.

From morning until dusk these sassy little prigs Barely fishing pole gauge and no thicker than twigs Naggingly chanted that come storm and hurricane A tree will snap but not a cane.

Wooden that he may be, he found it difficult To bear day after day the brunt of their insult Resigned that with this crowd he could not reconcile He just decided on exile.

Gingerly he pulled out his great roots from their track And set out on his way without once looking back But you should realize it hurt him to no end To leave his ungrateful homeland.

Near the edge of the woods, near ready to topple The melancholy oak met a necking couple Would you please let us carve our names into your bark? And a heart became his trademark.

When at last they relaxed their passionate embrace When they had fully reached a state of kissing grace They listened to the oak and soon their tears ran free Upon hearing his sad story.

Oak Tree, why don’t you come with us and find some peace Our rushes are gentle and no one is a tease You will have on our grounds an enjoyable stay And will be watered every day?

Thus agreed they embarked on his new homeward route Each lover holding on to the oak by a root O he seemed so happy, his worries were over The Oak Tree and his two lovers.

They had him firmly planted behind their manor And then began to change their tune and their manner The promised water was no more than the sprinkles Of dogs’ territorial tinkles.

They took all of his acorns to fatten their pork They stripped him of his bark and turned it into cork The lawless populace being prone to lynching He served as the place of hanging.

The unscrupulous pair, no more tears to be shed Sliced him up into boards and built themselves a bed And since the heartless wench took so many lovers He withered beneath her covers.

One sad and mournful day, final ignominy He was chopped to pieces and sent up the chimney Like some mere firewood he left his place of birth Billowing ash above the earth.

The priest of our parish, poor holy little sod Does not believe that the smoke will rise up to God What the hell does he know, who is he to surmise That there’re no oak trees in paradise There’re no oak trees in paradise?

© Didier Delahaye, 2002

Le grand chêne

Il vivait en dehors des chemins forestiers Ce n´était nullement un arbre de métier Il n´avait jamais vu l´ombre d´un bûcheron Ce grand chêne fier sur son tronc.

Il eût connu des jours filés d´or et de soie Sans ses proches voisins, les pires gens qui soient Des roseaux mal pensant, pas même des bambous S´amusant à le mettre à bout.

Du matin jusqu´au soir ces petit rejetons, Tout juste canne à pêche, à peine mirlitons, Lui tournant tout autour chantaient, in extenso L´histoire du chêne et du roseau.

Et, bien qu´il fût en bois, les chênes, c´est courant La fable ne le laissait pas indifférent Il advint que lassé d´être en but aux lazzi Il se résolut à l´exi(l).

A grand-peine il sortit ses grands pieds de son trou Et partit sans se retourner ni peu ni prou Mais, moi qui l´ai connu, je sais qu´il en souffrit De quitter l´ingrate patrie.

A l´orée des forêts, le chêne ténébreux A lié connaissance avec deux amoureux Grand chêne laisse-nous sur toi graver nos noms Le grand chêne n´as pas dit non.

Quand ils eurent épuisé leur grand sac de baisers Quand, de tant s’embrasser, leurs becs furent usés Ils ouïrent alors, en retenant des pleurs Le chêne contant ses malheurs.

Grand chêne, viens chez nous, tu trouveras la paix Nos roseaux savent vivre et n´ont aucun toupet Tu feras dans nos murs un aimable séjour Arrosé quatre fois par jour.

Cela dit, tous les trois se mettent en chemin Chaque amoureux tenant une racine en main Comme il semblait content, comme il semblait heureux Le chêne entre ses amoureux.

Au pied de leur chaumière, ils le firent planter Ce fut alors qu´il commença de déchanter Car, en fait d´arrosage, il n´eut rien que la pluie Des chiens levant la patte sur lui.

On a pris tous ses glands pour nourrir les cochons Avec sa belle écorce on a fait des bouchons Chaque fois qu´un arrêt de mort était rendu C’est lui qui héritait du pendu.

Puis ces mauvaises gens, vandales accomplis Le coupèrent en quatre et s´en firent un lit Et l´horrible mégère ayant des tas d’amants Il vieillit prématurément.

Un triste jour, enfin, ce couple sans aveu Le passa par la hache et le mit dans le feu Comme du bois de caisse, amère destinée Il périt dans la cheminée.

Le curé de chez nous, petit saint besogneux Doute que sa fumée s’élève jusqu´à Dieu Qu’est-ce qu’il en sait, le bougre, et qui donc lui a dit Qu’y a pas de chêne en paradis ? Qu’y a pas de chêne en paradis ?

Georges Brassens, 1966 © Éditions Musicales 57

Original album (30cm LP)

[column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″] Georges Brassens, vol IX, faux bois
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SIDE 1
Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète
Le fantôme
La fessée
Le pluriel
Les quatre bacheliers
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SIDE 2
Le bulletin de santé
La non-demande en mariage
Le grand chêne
Concurrence déloyale
L’épave
Le moyenâgeux
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