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Le grillon (1906)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Histoires naturelles

Le grillon

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 celf 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.

The Cricket

It is the hour when, weary of wandering, the black insect returns from his outing and carefully restores order to his estate.
First he rakes his narrow sandy paths.
He makes sawdust which he scatters on the threshold of his retreat.
He files the root of this tall grass likely to annoy him.
He rests. Then he winds up his tiny watch.
Has he finished? Is it broken? He rests again for a while.
He goes inside and shuts the door.
For an age he turns his key in the delicate lock.
And he listens:Nothing untoward outside.
But he does not feel safe.
And as if by a tiny chain on a creaking pulley, he lowers himself into the bowels of the earth.
Nothing more is heard.
In the silent countryside the poplars rise like fingers in the air, pointing to the moon.

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Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor.  In the 1920s and 1930s he was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. He was one of the first composers to acknowledge the potential of recording in making music accessible to a broad public, and in the 1920s several recordings of his work were made.

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