L’automne – Poetry by Jaques Prevert

It’s autumn, and not only the leaves are dying but the love too.

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Un cheval s’écroule au milieu d’une allée
Les feuilles tombent sur lui
Notre amour frissonne

Et le soleil aussi.

This beautiful piece of poetry always makes me shiver. The scene is static, there’s a horse stopped in the middle of an alley and the leaves are falling over him. It’s autumn, colors of red and yellow mark the scene.

The falling motion signifies death, going to a place of decay. It’s beautiful but when it ends, the leaves will form a carpet where no leaf is individual anymore and where they will be forgotten and will eventually rot away.
All this death in the autumn sky.
The next verses are also chilling. “Our love is shaking (from cold) and so does the sun.”
This integration of the nature with the love belongs to the romaticists of the 19th century, where the human and the surroundings were one. The love was dying and so was the world around it.
Such stunning visuals: a shriveling sun, diminished by the cold, dying with the coming of winter, unable to warm itself up anymore.

I love it.


Jacques Prévert

4.02.1900 – 11.04.1977

jacques-prevertJacques Prévert was born in 1900 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. When he had finished his schooling at age 15, he took a series of odd jobs, then joined the army in 1920, where he met Yves Tanguy and later Marcel Duhamel. In 1922 he returned to Paris, where he associated with the young leaders of the Surrealist movement: Desnos, Malkine, Aragon, Leiris, Artaud and André Breton. Eventually he broke with Breton. He is known for his poetry, which is simple and evocative, and known also as a screenwriter, collaborating on “Le Crime de Monsieur Lange” (1935) for Jean Renoir, for example, and “Les enfants du paradis” (1944) for Marcel Carné. Upon his death, Carné wrote of him in the New York Times that “His humor and poetry succeeded in raising the banal to the summit of art.”

Prévert’s poetry collections include Histoires (1946), Poèmes (1961) and some dozen others; his complete works were published in the Pléiade series by Gallimard in 1992.

1900, February 4th

Born in Neuilly sur Seine. He’s the second son of Suzanne and André Prévert. The oldest son, Jean is already 2 years old.

1906

Birth of his second brother, Pierre. He will be very close to him during his life. His father loses his job and the family will experience financial difficulties for a year.

1907

Jacques goes to school. His father introduce him to theatre and reading. His father finally finds a new job given by Auguste, his grand-father. Jacques doesn’t like his grand-father much who he will consider later as a royalist and a conservateur.

1911

Jacques is baptised.

1915

He receives his school certificate and starts having small jobs. He’s a rather rebellious teenager but he starts to appreciate reading and poetry.

1920

Military service in Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, near Lunéville. He meets the painter Yves Tanguy. He’s then sent to Turkey.

1921

During his military service in Constantinople in Turkey, he meets Marcel Duhamel.

1922

Jacques comes back to Paris where his friend Marcel Duhamel provide him an accomodation at 54 rue du Château. Yves Tangui leaves with them.

1924

54 rue du Château becomes the meeting place for the surrealist movement with André Breton as the leader. Jacques is an active member of the group.

1925

Jacques marries Simone Dienne, his long time friend.

1928

Prévert, Tanguy and Duhamel leave Rue du Chateau after a problem with Breton.

1930

Jacques criticise openly Breton and leaves the surrealist movement. Publishing of “Un Cadavre” (a corpse) by the members of the surrealist movement. The text from Jacques is named “Death of a Sir” and he takes this opportunity to publish another paper “Souvenirs de famille ou l’Ange garde-chiourme”.

1932

Jacques set up the Octobre group and becomes the main member. He writes screenplays for the comedy group.

1933

Trip to Moscow with Octobre group and play “La Bataille de Fontenoy”.

1934

He gets to know a poor musician coming from Budapest, Joseph Kosma.

1935

He writes the dialogues of the movie “Crime de Monsieur Lange” of Jean Renoir. He breaks up from his wife Simone.

1936

He meets a new lady, Jacqueline Laurent, and travel with her to Baleares islands. The Octobre group stops and Jacques goes away from communism movement. His father dies.

1938

He writes the scenario “Quai des Brumes” a film of Marcel Carne with Jean Gabin and Michèle Morgan. He travels to the U.S. to find his love Jacqueline.

1939

He writes “Le jour se lève” together with Marcel Carné and actors Jean Gabin and Arletty.

1940

Jacques is dismissed from the army during the second world war. He leaves Paris and goes down to Saint-Paul-de-Vence in South of France with his new girlfriend Claudy Carter. Kosma and Trauner work with him on new films.

1941

He writes the scenario of “Les Visiteurs du soir” with Marcel Carné and actors Jules Berry et Arletty.

1943

Jacques falls in love with Janine Loris.

1944

He writes the scenario of “Les Enfants du Paradis” of Marcel Carné with actors Jean-Louis Barrault et Arletty.

1945

Death of his mother. His first poem book is released and would be sold to 2 millions pieces.

1946

Birth of his daughter: Michèle. With Janine.

1947

He publishes “Visiteurs du soir” and “Contes pour enfants pas sages” with pictures of Elsa Henriquez.

1948

Jacques falls from a window and stays several days in coma. He will keep serious neurological sequels from this incident.

1949

He publishes “Les Amants de Vérone”.

1950

He publishes “Des bêtes…” and write the cartoon “le petit ramoneur” with Paul Grimault; later it will be re-used to produce in 1979 the cartoon “le Roi et l’Oiseau”.

1951

He publishes “Spectacle” and “Grand Bal du printemps”.

1952

Jacques returns to Paris and travels to London. He publishes “Lettre des îles Baladar” and “Guignol”.

1953

He publishes “L’Opéra de la lune”. And he becomes “Satrape” of “collège de Pataphysique”.

1955

He returns finally in Paris and moves in the artist area of Montmartre. He publishes “La pluie et le beau temps”.

1956

He publishes a rendering for “Joan Miró”.

1957

He exhibits sixty “collages” Maeght gallery in Paris.

1963

He publishes “Histoires et d’autres” and exhibit his “collages” creations in several cities of France.

1966

He publishes “Fatras”.

1967

He publishes “Arbres”.

1971

He buys a house in Normandy at Omonville-la-Petite and has his good friend Alexandre Trauner as a neighbour.

1972

He takes part in Hebdromadaires.

1974

Jacques becomes grand-father of Eugénie, doughter of Michèle and Hugues Bachelot.

1977, 11 avril

Jacques dies in Omonville-la-Petite.

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