Sunday 24 June 2012

Le nombril des femmes d'agent- Ultimate ecstasy for a fetishist of selective navels

 A light and humorous song on a typically naughty theme about a man whose fetish was the female navel, telling the story of the final irony when he came desperately close to the target of his lifetime .  This is another song about life’s eccentrics, for whom Brassens felt great sympathy.  If a sense of disrespect for the police is detected in this song, this can perhaps be related to the traumatic experience of Brassens’ teenage years.  Nevertheless it has to be said that the wife of the police officer in this story is extraordinarily considerate.

Le nombril des femmes d'agent

Voir le nombril(1) d'la femm' d'un flic
N'est certainement pas un spectacle
Qui, du point d'vue de l'esthétique,
Puiss' vous élever au pinacle.
Il y eut pourtant, dans l'vieux paris,
Un honnête homme sans malice
Brûlant d'contempler le nombril
D'la femm' d'un agent de police...

"Je me fais vieux, gémissait-il,
Et, durant le cours de ma vie,
J'ai vu bon nombre de nombrils
De toutes les catégories :
Nombrils d'femm's de croque-morts, nombrils
D'femm's de bougnats,(3) d' femm's de jocrisses,
Mais je n'ai jamais vu celui
D'la femm' d'un agent de police...

"Mon père a vu, comm' je vous vois,
Des nombrils de femm's de gendarmes,
Mon frère a goûté plus d'un' fois
D'ceux des femm's d'inspecteurs, les charmes...
Mon fils vit le nombril d'la souris
D'un ministre de la justice...
Et moi, j’n'ai même pas vu l' nombril
D' la femm' d'un agent de police... "

Ainsi gémissait en public
Cet honnête homme vénérable,
Quand la légitime d'un flic,
Tendant son nombril secourable,
Lui dit : "Je m'en vais mettre fin
À votre pénible supplice,
Vous fair' voir le nombril enfin
D'la femm' d'un agent de police... "

"Alléluia !" fit le bon vieux,
De mes tourments voici la trêve !
Grâces soient rendu's au Bon Dieu,
Je vais réaliser mon rêve !"
Il s'engagea, tout attendri,
Sous les jupons d'sa bienfaitrice,
Braquer ses yeux, sur le nombril
D'la femm' d'un agent de police...

Mais, hélas ! il était rompu
Par les effets de sa hantise,
Et comme il atteignait le but
De cinquante ans de convoitise,
La mort, la mort, la mort le prit
Sur l'abdomen de sa complice
Il n'a jamais vu le nombril
D'la femm’ d’un agent de police...

To see)The navel of a copper’s wife
Is certainly not a spectacle
Which, viewed aesthetically, can
Lift you up to the utmost heights
Yet there was once in old Paree
A nice gent with no harm in him
Longing to gaze at the navel
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man. (2)

“I’m getting on”, he used to moan,
“And during the course of my life
I’ve seen lots of belly buttons
And of all the shapes and sizes :
Navels of wives of morticians,
Of wives of Auvergnans and clowns
But I have never ever seen that
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man.”

My dad saw, as clear’s I see you,
The navels of wives of gendarmes
My brother enjoyed more than once
Th’ charms of those of inspectors’ wives
My lad saw the navel’f the bird
Of a minister of justice
And I’ve not e’en seen the navel
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man.

Thus was he moaning in public
This venerable gentleman
When a copper’s better half,
Came to his aid by offering hers,
Saying : “I will bring an end
To your painful suffering
Let you see the navel at last
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man.

“Alleluia ! cried the old chap,
Here’s the release from my torments,!
Thanks be rendered to the Good Lord,
I’m going to realise my dream!”
He set to, in a right old state,
Neath the skirts of his ben’factress
To fix his eyes on the navel
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man.

But alas he was overcome
By the effects of his mania
And as he was nearing the goal
Of fifty long years of yearning
Death, death, death, suddenly took him
From the belly of his ‘complice
He never did see the navel
Of the wife of a poli- ice-man

1955 Chanson pour l’auvergnat


 1)      Nombril – The old adage says that a joke explained is a joke killed.  I therefore include the following note apologetically.
Some commentators explain that Brassens uses the word “navel” here to represent a certain different part of the female anatomy.  Others refute this insisting that the distinction between the navel and the vagina is crucial in the poem.  They maintain that the punch line in the original joke depended on the audience realisation of what exactly the man had chanced to gaze upon as he progressed upwards, causing his final, fatal/blissful shock, so ironically close to his lifetime's objective. 

2)      of a poli- ice-man. – the word is written like this as Brassens particularly drags the last word of each verse

3)      D'femm's de bougnats,(3) – Bougnats were immigrants to Paris from the Puy de Dôme region in central France,  from where his landlord,Marcel Planche, the Auvergnat, originated.  His wife was Brassens’ lady-friend, Jeanne Planche, and this could be a private, little tease intended for her.

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