serious when they’re seventeen.

On a nice night, the hell with beer and lemonade

And the caf and the noisy atmosphere!

You walk beneath the linden trees on the promenade.

The lindens smell so lovely on a night in June!

The air is so sweet that your eyelids close.

The breeze is full of sounds– they come from the town–

And the scent of beer, and the vine, and the rose…


You look
up and see a little scrap of sky,

Dark blue and far off in the night,

Struck with a lopsideded star that

drifts by With little shivers, very small and white…

A night in June! Seventeen! Getting drunk is fun.

Sap like champagne knocks your head awry…

Your mind drifts; a kiss rises to your lips

And flutters like a little butterfly…


Your heart
Crusoes madly through novels, anywhere,

When through the pale pool beneath a street light,

A girl goes by with the most charming air,

In the grim shadows of her father’s dark coat.

And since she finds you marvelously nave,

While her little heels keep tapping along

She turns, with a quick bright look…

And on your lips, despairing, dies your song.


You are in
love. Rented out till fall.

You are in love. Poetic fires ignite you.

Your friends laugh; they won’t talk to you at all.

Then one night, the goddess deigns to write you!

That night… you go back to the caf,

to the noisy atmosphere;

You sit and order beer, or lemonade…

Nobody’s serious when they’re seventeen,

And there are linden trees on the promenade.