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I Was Made Small

Translated by Chris Schoen

I had never stooped or bent backwards
Or feared of falling
Now I bow and scrape with pretty words
When she comes calling

I was a nasty dog, till she had me eat
From her lace-gloved hands
I had wolfen teeth, but now I chew my meat
At her command

I’ve become so small before a baby doll
Who shuts its eyes when it’s too much
I’ve become so small before a baby doll
Who cries for mama when she feels my touch

I was hard to cook, but she cooked me through
From north to south
I fell delicate, like tender stew
Into her mouth

A mouth just like a child’s when she was all smiles
Or sweetly singing
But it’s like the coldest crocodile
When she starts swinging

I obey her law, I step in line
Her constant caller
Though she is suspicious of every stain
Upon my collar

There’s a purple flower more fair than she
And you could tell her
Or spare the periwinkle from tragedy
At her umbrella

All the oracles and sages
Foretold without malice
That in her embrace I’ll breath my last
Lips at her chalice

There are better ways to go, and bad and worse
Whimper or bang
But though we hang here, or somewhere else
We all must hang

From “Je me suis fait tout petit,” by Georges Brassens.

 

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