Je t’aime et je ne sais ce que je voudrais.

Other poems we have posted here by Francis Jammes tend to have been bucolic, gentle, perhaps slightly melancholy pieces, but this is quite a passionate love poem. Perhaps it was written when the poet was young and in the first throes of a love affair. In any event, it almost seems like a precursor of Neruda’s more extravagant love poems; you feel that the poet is impatient to take his hand off the pen and onto his lover’s body.

The title sums it up, really (and signals the poem could also be a distant antecedent of that famous “song” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin).


Je t’aime et je ne sais ce que je voudrais.
Hier mes jambes douces et claires ont tremblé quand ma gorge t’a touché, lorsque je courais.
Moi, le sang a coulé plus fort comme une roue, jusqu’à ma gorge, en sentant tes bras ronds et doux luire à travers ta robe comme des feuilles de houx.
Je t’aime et je ne sais pas ce que je voudrais.
Je voudrais me coucher et je m’endormirais…
La gentiane est bleue et noire à la forêt.
Les troupeaux de l’Automne vont aux feuilles jaunes, la tanche d’or à l’eau et la beauté aux femmes et le corps va au corps et l’âme va à l’âme.

From <;

The poem begins with the statement of the poet’s complete immersion in his love. He is so much in lover he doesn’t know what to do. He remembers his physical sensations from yesterday, when he last touched his lover – trembling legs, his blood rising to his throat, as he touches her, as he feels her arms through her dress.

The poem rapidly reaches its climax with a kind of fusion of sensations and images – the poets wants to lie down and sleep in the forest, among the wild flowers, the autumn herds and the yellow leaves, where all is beauty, all beauty becomes part of the beauty of a woman and bodies and souls fuse together.

Oh, to be young and in love….

The Poetry Dude


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