A national anthem should be music without lyrics. I’ve yet to come across one with words that I can embrace and sign on to. Saluting war, bombs (the American version), taking back what’s yours by force (that’s the Polish one) and the most brutal of all: la Marseillaise. Consider this:
…Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts
To arms citizens
Form your battalions
Let impure blood
Water our furrows
Lovely little gem for little French children to learn and sing, isn’t it?
But the melodies are alright. Plain and to the point, one might say. So, on this Bastille Day, I’ll put on a French CD, drink some French Roast café au lait, and, instead of the cut throats and impure blood, I’ll think about only the first two words of the anthem – allons enfants (come, children).
The picture I like best to accompany this was taken by me in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, against a canopy of chestnut leaves. God, I love those gardens (and the museum contained therein, where one can get exquisite prints)!
playing to the chestnuts, beckoning to follow, in song