Le Cancre

Il dit non avec la tête
mais il dit oui avec le coeur
il dit oui à ce qu’il aime
il dit non au professeur
il est debout
on le questionne
et tous les problèmes sont posés
soudain le fou rire le prend
et il efface tout
les chiffres et les mots
les dates et les noms
les phrases et les pièges
et malgré les menaces du maître
sous les huées des enfants prodiges
avec les craies de toutes les couleurs
sur le tableau noir du malheur
il dessine le visage du bonheur

—Jacques Prévert

37 Replies to “Le Cancre”

  1. Here’s what freetranslation.com has to say about this:

    It says no with the head but it says yes with the heart it says yes to this that it likes it says no to the professor it is standing one questions it and all the problems are put sudden the crazy laugh takes it and it obliterates all the amount and the words date them and the names the sentences and the traps and despite the threats of the masterchildren prodigies with the chalks of all the colors on the black picture of the misfortune it draws the face of the happiness

    Steve, is this going on your body sometime soon?

  2. Here’s what freetranslation.com has to say about this:

    It says no with the head but it says yes with the heart it says yes to this that it likes it says no to the professor it is standing one questions it and all the problems are put sudden the crazy laugh takes it and it obliterates all the amount and the words date them and the names the sentences and the traps and despite the threats of the masterchildren prodigies with the chalks of all the colors on the black picture of the misfortune it draws the face of the happiness

    Steve, is this going on your body sometime soon?

  3. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i’m 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I’ve made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  4. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i’m 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I’ve made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  5. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i’m 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I’ve made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  6. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i’m 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I’ve made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  7. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i’m 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I’ve made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  8. You guys are all wrong. The poem is called “The Dunce” and it is about a dunce who does not like his professor, but he likes to make others laugh. The translation is NOT perfect. I recomend you all go through Francais 101 again!

  9. You guys are all wrong. The poem is called “The Dunce” and it is about a dunce who does not like his professor, but he likes to make others laugh. The translation is NOT perfect. I recomend you all go through Francais 101 again!

  10. We just studied this. I have it translated and turned it >We just studied this. I have it translated and turned it ><. But the last couple of lines are my favourite. i like to think that he is just indulging in the simple luxury of drawing :3.

  11. We just studied this. I have it translated and turned it >We just studied this. I have it translated and turned it ><. But the last couple of lines are my favourite. i like to think that he is just indulging in the simple luxury of drawing :3.

  12. yeah the translation kinda sucks hard. The first line is he says not with ( his ) head , and yes with his heart . . . . Im in french four so im not an idiot

  13. yeah the translation kinda sucks hard. The first line is he says not with ( his ) head , and yes with his heart . . . . Im in french four so im not an idiot

  14. this is how i translated it :
    The Dunce
    He says no with his head
    But he says yes with his heart
    He says yes to who he loves
    He says no to the professor
    He stands
    He’s questioned
    And every problem is posed
    Suddenly he laughs recklessly
    He erases everything
    The numbers and the words
    The dates and the names
    The phrases and the tricks
    And despite the threats of the teacher
    Amidst the jeers of the honor students
    with chalk of every color
    on the blackboard of misery
    he draws the face of gaiety.

  15. this is how i translated it :
    The Dunce
    He says no with his head
    But he says yes with his heart
    He says yes to who he loves
    He says no to the professor
    He stands
    He’s questioned
    And every problem is posed
    Suddenly he laughs recklessly
    He erases everything
    The numbers and the words
    The dates and the names
    The phrases and the tricks
    And despite the threats of the teacher
    Amidst the jeers of the honor students
    with chalk of every color
    on the blackboard of misery
    he draws the face of gaiety.

  16. i still do not really understand Le cancre. i would like to know the meaning and why it is studied so much in schools in France. I would like to make an analysis of this poem for my oral presentation in school.Thank you.

  17. i still do not really understand Le cancre. i would like to know the meaning and why it is studied so much in schools in France. I would like to make an analysis of this poem for my oral presentation in school.Thank you.

  18. lol, i know how to say this whole poem by memorie!! i'm 12, and compeeting as the French 7 representitive in the Connecticut State Poetry Contest. I've made it through 5 levels to get here, i never expected it, and, also, the transilation is perfict.

  19. great translation but I would make two small changes.

    The Dunce
    He says no with his head
    But he says yes with his heart
    He says yes to what he loves
    He says no to the professor
    He stands
    He is questioned
    And every problem is posed
    Suddenly laughter takes over him
    He erases everything
    The numbers and the words
    The dates and the names
    The phrases and the traps
    And despite the threats of the teacher
    Amidst the jeers of the honor students
    with chalks of every color
    on the blackboard of misery
    he draws the face of gaiety.

  20. great translation but I would make two small changes.

    The Dunce
    He says no with his head
    But he says yes with his heart
    He says yes to what he loves
    He says no to the professor
    He stands
    He is questioned
    And every problem is posed
    Suddenly laughter takes over him
    He erases everything
    The numbers and the words
    The dates and the names
    The phrases and the traps
    And despite the threats of the teacher
    Amidst the jeers of the honor students
    with chalks of every color
    on the blackboard of misery
    he draws the face of gaiety.

  21. this is obviously not a perfect translation but one of the best i have seen on the internet… by the way “dit” is a conjugated form of dire, which means to say or speak, kinda the same thing. but good job

  22. He said no with his head

    but he said yes with the heartHe said yes to what he likes
    He said no to the teacher
    He is standing
    They question him
    And all the problems are posed
    Suddenly the crazy laughter takes him
    And he erases everything
    The numbers and words
    The dates and names
    The sentences and the tricks
    And despite the master’s threats
    Amidst the jeers of the gifted children
    With chalk of all colours
    On the blackboard of unhappiness
    He draws the face of happiness

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