Thursday, March 22, 2012

You make turn your name all the mills of my heart.

Take a couple of minutes and listen to Noel Harrison singing “The Windmills of Your Mind” (2:18) from 1968.

[Editor's note. Noel Harrison is the son of Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady fame. Many years ago, Mrs. RWP and I attended a performance of My Fair Lady at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale in which the part of Henry Higgins was played by Noel Harrison, Rex's son. As regards this post, that fact is completely irrelevant. --RWP]

The music for “The Windmills of Your Mind” was composed by Michel Legrand.

The English lyrics are by Marilyn and Allen Bergman:


THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND

Round, like a circle in a spiral,
Like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel,
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon,
Like a carousel that's turning,
Running rings around the moon,
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face,
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space,
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind,

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own,
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone,
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream,
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream,
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face,
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind,

Keys that jingle in your pocket,
Words that jangle in your head,
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that you said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand,
Is the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway
Or the fragment of a song,
Half-remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
You were suddenly aware,
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the colour of her hair,

A circle in a spiral,
A wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever-spinning reel,
As the images unwind,
Like the circles that you find,
In the windmills of your mind.


They are nothing at all like the original French lyrics, which were written by Eddy Marnay and published under the title “Les moulins de mon coeur” (“The Mills of My Heart”):


LES MOULINS DE MON COEUR

Comme une pierre que l’on jette
Dans l’eau vive d'un ruisseau
Et qui laisse derrière elle
Des milliers de ronds dans l’eau
Comme un manège de lune
Avec ses chevaux d’étoiles
Comme un anneau de Saturne
Un ballon de carnaval
Comme le chemin de ronde
Que font sans cesse les heures
Le voyage autour du monde
D’un tournesol dans sa fleur
Tu fais tourner de ton nom
Tous les moulins de mon coeur.

Comme un écheveau de laine
Entre les mains d’un enfant
Ou les mots d’une rengaine
Pris dans les harpes du vent
Comme un tourbillon de neige
Comme un vol de goélands
Sur des forêts de Norvège
Sur des moutons d’océan
Comme le chemin de ronde
Que font sans cesse les heures
Le voyage autour du monde
D’un tournesol dans sa fleur
Tu fais tourner de ton nom
Tous les moulins de mon coeur.

Ce jour-là près de la source
Dieu sait ce que tu m’as dit
Mais l’été finit sa course
L’oiseau tomba de son nid
Et voila que sur le sable
Nos pas s’effacent déjà
Et je suis seul à la table
Qui résonne sous mes doigts
Comme un tambourin qui pleure
Sous les gouttes de la pluie
Comme les chansons qui meurent
Aussitôt qu’on les oublie
Et les feuilles de l’automne
Rencontre des ciels moins bleus
Et ton absence leur donne
La couleur de tes cheveux.

Une pierre que l’on jette
Dans l’eau vive d’un ruisseau
Et qui laisse derrière elle
Des milliers de ronds dans l’eau
Au vent des quatre saisons
Tu fais tourner de ton nom
Tous les moulins de mon coeur.


While translate.google.com’s translation may not be exact, it is close enough for government work:


THE MILLS OF MY HEART

Like a stone that is thrown
In the living water of a stream
And that leaves behind
Thousands of Ripples
As an amusement moon
With horses of stars
Like a ring of Saturn
A carnival ball
As the circular path
What are the hours over
The trip around the world
From a sunflower in bloom
You make turn your name
All the mills of my heart.

Like a skein of wool
The hands of a child
Or the words of a song
Caught in the wind harps
As a flurry of snow
Like a flight of gulls
On forests of Norway
Sheep on ocean
As the circular path
What are the hours over
The trip around the world
From a sunflower in bloom
You make turn your name
All the mills of my heart.

That day near the source
God knows what you said
But the summer came to a stop
The bird fell from its nest
And here on the sand
Our footsteps disappear already
And I'm alone at the table
That resonates with my fingers
Crying like a tambourine
Under the drops of rain
As the songs that die
Soon be forgotten
And autumn leaves
Encounter less blue skies
And your absence gives them
The color of your hair.

A stone that is thrown
In the living water of a stream
And that leaves behind
Thousands of Ripples
Upwind of the four seasons
You make turn your name
All the mills of my heart.


As I mentioned earlier, the French lyrics by Eddie Marnay are nothing at all like the English lyrics by the Bergmans. Just for the heck of it, I tried a second translator, Yahoo!’s Babelfish, with the following results:


MILLS OF MY HEART

Like a stone that l’ one throws
In l’ running water d’ a brook
And which leaves behind it
Thousands of rounds in l’ water
Like a moon horse-gear
With its horses d’ stars
Like a Saturn’s ring
A balloon of carnival
Like the covered way
What makes the hours unceasingly
The voyage around the world
D’ a sunflower in its flower
You make turn of your name
All mills of my heart.

Like a wool hank
Between the hands d’ a child
Or the words d’ a rengaine
Taken in the toothings-stone of the wind
Like an eddy of snow
Like a flight of seagulls
On forests of Norway
On sheep d’ ocean
Like the covered way
What makes the hours unceasingly
The voyage around the world
D’ a sunflower in its flower
You make turn of your name
All mills of my heart.

This day close to the source
God knows what you m’ ace known as
But l’ summer finishes its race
L’ bird fell from its nest
And here that on sand
Our steps s’ erase already
And I am alone with the table
Who resounds under my fingers
As a tambourine which cries
Under the drops of the rain
As the songs which die
At once qu’ they are forgotten
And sheets of l’ autumn
Meet less blue ciels
And your absence gives them
The color of your hair.

A stone that l’ one throws
In l’ running water d’ a brook
And which leaves behind it
Thousands of rounds in l’ water
With the four season old wind
You make turn of your name
All mills of my heart.


This is just one person’s opinion, of course, but I think Yahoo!’s Babelfish translator ought to be be thrown onto the trash heap of internet history along with the forests of Norway and the sheep d’ ocean.

And the moral of today’s post, kiddies, should be obvious: Always try to stay upwind of the four seasons.

2 comments:

Katherine said...

Very interesting and funny. L' foibles of translating engines (or even l' efforts d' well-intentioned non-native speakers) are likely to be a source d' humour forever!

rhymeswithplague said...

Katherine,, it's gratifying to know you enjoyed l' post.