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The Guinea Fowl • La
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The English version presented below is a literal, word-for-word translation. It attempts to preserve the poet's word order as far as possible, for a better appreciation of the composer's musical treatment of individual words and phrases.

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C'est la bossue de ma cour. Elle ne rêve que plaies à cause de sa bosse. Les poules ne lui disent rien. Brusquement, elle se précipite et les harcèle. Puis elle baisse sa tête, penche le corps, et, de toute la vitesse de ses pattes maigres, elle court frapper, de son bec dur, juste au centre de la roue d'une dinde. Cette poseuse l'agaçait. Ainsi, la tête bleuie, ses barbillons à vif, cocardière, elle rage du matin au soir. Elle se bat sans motif, peut-être parce qu'elle s'imagine toujours qu'on se moque de sa taille, de son crâne chauve et de sa queue basse. Et elle ne cesse de jeter un cri discordant qui perce l'air comme un pointe. Parfois elle quitte la cour et disparaît. Elle laisse aux volailles pacifiques un moment de répit. Mais elle revient plus turbulente et plus criarde. Et, frénétique, elle se vautre par terre. Qu'a-t'elle donc? La sournoise fait une farce. Elle est allée pondre son oeuf à la campagne. Je peux le chercher si ça m'amuse. Et elle se roule dans la poussière comme une bossue.

 

Jules Renard

 

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She is the hunchback of my yard, always spoiling for a fight on account of her hump. She doesn’t like hens. Suddenly, she rushes forward and harasses them. Then she lowers her head, leans forward, and, running at full speed on her spindly legs, she jabs her hard beak right in the centre of a turkey’s tailfeathers. That poseur was annoying her. Thus, with her head turned blue and her wattles reddened, she rages from morning till night. She fights without a motive, perhaps imagining that she is being mocked for her short stature, her bald head, and her low tailfeathers. And incessantly she lets out a discordant cry that pierces the air like a knife. Sometimes she leaves the yard and disappears. She gives the peace-loving chickens a few moments of respite. But she returns, more disruptive and noisy than ever. And, in a frenzy, she throws herself on the ground. What’s the matter with her? The cunning bird has played a sneaky trick - she went off to lay an egg in the countryside. I can go and look forward if I can be bothered. And she rolls around in the dust like a hunchback.

 

Recorded 16 March 2007

 

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