Charles Cros (Fabrezan 1842 ; Paris 1888)

Both inventor (precursor of the phonograph) and poet. Please do pronounce the final “s” in the name Cros!

Le hareng-saur
Il était un grand mur blanc – nu, nu, nu,
Contre le mur une échelle – haute, haute, haute,
Et, par terre, un hareng saur – sec, sec, sec. Il vient, tenant dans ses mains – sales, sales, sales,
Un marteau lourd, un grand clou – pointu, pointu, pointu,
Un peloton de ficelle – gros, gros, gros. Alors il monte à l’échelle – haute, haute, haute,
Et plante le clou pointu – toc, toc, toc,
Tout en haut du grand mur blanc – nu, nu, nu. Il laisse aller le marteau – qui tombe, qui tombe, qui tombe,

Attache au clou la ficelle – longue, longue, longue, Et, au bout, le hareng saur – sec, sec, sec. Il redescend de l’échelle – haute, haute, haute,
L’emporte avec le marteau – lourd, lourd, lourd,
Et puis, il s’en va ailleurs – loin, loin, loin. Et, depuis, le hareng saur – sec, sec, sec,
Au bout de cette ficelle – longue, longue, longue,
Très lentement se balance – toujours, toujours, toujours. J’ai composé cette histoire – simple, simple, simple,
Pour mettre en fureur les gens – graves, graves, graves,
Et amuser les enfants – petits, petits, petits.
 
The kipper
There was a tall white wall – blank, blank, blank
Against the wall a ladder – high, high, high,
And, on the ground, a kipper – dry, dry, dry. He comes, holding in his hands – dirty, dirty, dirty,
A heavy hammer, a big nail – pointy, pointy, pointy,
A ball of string – big, big, big. So he climbs the ladder – high, high, high,
And hammers the pointy nail – knock, knock, knock,
High up in the great white wall – blank, blank, blank. He drops the hammer – which falls, which falls, which falls
To the nail he fixes the string – long, long, long. And at the end of it, the kipper – dry, dry, dry.
He climbs down off the ladder – high, high, high,
Takes it away with the hammer – heavy, heavy, heavy,
Then he goes elsewhere – far, far, far. Since then, the kipper – dry, dry, dry,
At the end of that string – long, long, long,
Slowly rocks – again, again, again.
I wrote this short story – simple, simple, simple,
To make people angry – serious, serious, serious,
And to amuse the children – small, small, small.