Wednesday, November 2, 2016


When I was studying French in high school, we learned a song titled, "Y'a un rat dans l'grenier," and though I've mistranslated "grenier," the title and the tune have stuck with me all my life.  Here's what I've finally made of it:

Rats in the granary
rifles and flashlight
blast those eyeballs
shiny and bright
good for a joke
good for a laugh
got enough ammo
time will pass
bored to death
Saturday night
rats in the granary.

Train at the crossing
boys on foot
boxcar’s open
let’s have a look
grab the ladder
grab the dream
train starts movin’
whistles scream
bored to death
Saturday night
train at the crossing
rats in the granary.

Youth ain’t long
sure is hard
spend your life
in your own backyard
go to school
go to church
alarm clock rings
out you lurch
dead end job
in your dead end town
with your dead end girl
and your dead end crowd
rats in the granary.

Drink drank drunk
Marine Corps, man
fall asleep loaded
rise in the sand
trade your toys
for a bigger gun
trade the rats
for rag-head fun
you’re a killer now
sights on jihad
all grow’d up
and you’re bad
rats in the granary.

Rotate home
nothing in mind
take a quick look
here’s what you find
people in the streets
talking to god
sitting on the curb
life on the nod
stand in line
shuffle to the shelter
Saturday night
helter skelter
rats in the granary
rats in the granary
rats in the granary...


 Raffi has a kinder, gentler take on it:  Ya Un Rat

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