Saturday, November 5, 2016

Robert Charlebois: Je reviendrai à Montréal (1976)

Montreal Memories & Nostalgia


Robert Charlebois [born June 25, 1944 in Montréal, Québec], Québec’s poet of song, sings “Je reviendrai à Montréal,” a song that captures the sentiment of many expats living outside their native city. It is the third track of Side B from his 1976 album, Longue distance, his 11th. Charlbois is, as it is said in French, “un géant de la chanson québécoise.” It takes leaving and residing outside the city for some time to realize that even the snow falls like poetry in Montreal.

One can leave Montreal, but Montreal never leaves you. As an example, you can read an article (“Leonard Cohen’s Montreal; February 28, 2015), in The New Yorker, by Bernard Avishal. Both were born in Montreal. Cohen still maintains a house in Montreal, which is across the street from Parc du Portugal and is part of Le Plateau neighbourhood.

Je reviendrai à Montréal
par Daniel Thibon et Robert Charlebois

Je reviendrai à Montréal
Dans un grand Boeing bleu de mer
J’ai besoin de revoir l’hiver
Et ses aurores boréales

J’ai besoin de cette lumière
Descendue droit du Labrador
Et qui fait neiger sur l'hiver
Des roses bleues, des roses d’or

Dans le silence de l'hiver
Je veux revoir ce lac étrange
Entre le crystal et le verre
Où viennent se poser des anges

Je reviendrai à Montréal
Ecouter le vent de la mer
Se briser comme un grand cheval
Sur les remparts blancs de l’hiver

Je veux revoir le long désert
Des rues qui n'en finissent pas
Qui vont jusqu'au bout de l’hiver
Sans qu’il y ait trace de pas

J’ai besoin de sentir le froid
Mourir au fond de chaque pierre
Et rejaillir au bord des toits
Comme des glaçons de bonbons clairs

Je reviendrai à Montréal
Dans un grand Bœing bleu de mer
Je reviendrai à Montréal
Me marier avec l'hiver
Me marier avec l'hiver

I will return to Montreal
by Daniel Thibon & Robert Charlebois

I will return to Montreal
In a big sea-blue Boeing
I need to see the winter again
And its northern lights

I need this light
Descending straight from Labrador
And that makes blue roses, gold roses
Snow on the winter

In the silence of the winter
I want to see this strange lake again
Between the crystal and the glass
Where angels come to land

I will return to Montreal
To listen to the wind of the sea
Breaking like a big horse
Against the white ramparts of the winter

I want to see the long desert
Of streets that don't end
That go to the edge of the winter
With no trace of footsteps

I need to feel the cold
Dying at the bottom of every stone
And springing back again on the edges of roofs
Like icicles of clear candy

I will return to Montreal
In a big sea-blue Boeing
I will return to Montreal
To marry the winter
To marry the winter