Heureux qui comme Brassens
Lucky sod, Ulysses. Having a home to return to, I mean – not sure I could have coped with the male equivalents of Circe, let alone bally Scylla and Charybdis. Oh, hang on a minute: I already have! But that’s another story. And a thoroughly tedious one at that, so we shall leave it untold.
I feel homesick. Yes, yes, I know: utterly pathetic, as well as entirely irrational. I haven’t got one of those – a home. I had one, and I miss it. Most mornings I wake up wondering where I am before I even begin to work out how …
But faced with zero choice, there’s nothing that can be done. Simple as that.
So briskly back to that title. I am not raving in lunacy. Honestly (as ever, you’ll have to take my word for that). I’m not referring to Heureux qui, comme Ulysse by Du Bellay either, lovely as the poem is. I have been listening to the song sung by Georges Brassens.
Brassens was an artist whose passion for poetry colours all his compositions, from the mournful resignation of Le petit cheval blanc to mischief and mockery, eg Le gorille. Combine all this with beguilingly rhythmic melodies, and you have all the profundity and playfulness required to fight off a fit of the glums.
Brassens: now there was someone who never lost his love of home, and who knew how to form a family from friends – and hang onto it. Who cares if the ties that bound the latter to the former were at least in part monetary? Aren’t they always? Friend Eugénie and I reached this conclusion several years ago (Jane Austen, of course, got there long before us – albeit with immeasurably superior intelligence and talent). What matters to most wanderers is having somewhere to go at journey’s end. A place of safety and solace that is in itself a reward for successfully surmounting trials, tribulations – and shady sirens. And Brassens, while transplanted and travelling, never lost his attachment to his roots or to those who would always nurture him. He was wise in his generosity.
Brassens also had a marvellous sense of humour – as do so many of those rare, empathic types – and his own particular take on the generation gap, especially as it applies to those masculine versions of Circe and Co, is a characteristically elegant comic turn in itself. Sheer connerie – such a lot of it about; but hasn’t there always been? Yes, answers Brassens: le temps ne fait rien à l’affaire*. Best to laugh at it. And who better to laugh with, than Georges?
More about Brassens (in French).
Pic sourced from Commons Wiki.
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