by Jules Renard (1864 - 1910)
Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail

Le grillon
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG FIN GER
C'est l'heure où, las d'errer, 
l'insecte nègre revient de promenade 
et répare avec soin le désordre de son domaine.

D'abord il ratisse ses étroites allées de sable.

Il fait du bran de scie qu'il écarte 
au seuil de sa retraite.

Il lime la racine de cette grande herbe 
propre à le harceler.

Il se repose.

Puis il remonte sa minuscule montre.

A-t-il fini ? Est-elle cassée ? 
Il se repose encore un peu.

Il rentre chez lui et ferme sa porte.

Longtemps il tourne sa clé 
dans la serrure délicate.

Et il écoute :

Point d'alarme dehors.

Mais il ne se trouve pas en sûreté.

Et comme par une chaînette 
dont la poulie grince, 
il descend jusqu'au fond de la terre.

On n'entend plus rien.

Dans la campagne muette, 
les peupliers se dressent comme des doigts 
en l'air et désignent la lune.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "The cricket", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Sirkka", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Die Grille", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 25
Word count: 142

The cricket
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
It is the hour when, bored with wandering,
the black insect returns to the promenade
and tidies up his domain.

First he rakes his narrow sandy paths. 

He makes sawdust that he piles 
on the threshold of his hideaway. 

He files the root of the tall grass,
appropriate for attacking with. 

He rests. 

Then he mounts once more his minuscule watch.
Has he finished? Is it broken? 
He rests again for a little while. 

He returns home and closes his door.
A long while he turns the key 
in the delicate lock. 

Then he listens; 

nothing alarming outside. 

But he does not find security. 

And, like a small chain 
whose teeth a pulley gnashes, 
he descends into the depths of the earth. 

He no longer hears anything. 

In the mute countryside, 
the poplars stand erect like fingers in the air, 
pointing toward the moon.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2005 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2005-09-21
Line count: 25
Word count: 144