by Bosba Panh

  • Story Lyrics Cécile


    Comissioned by Eunghee Cho

    Cécile, commissioned and dedicated to Eunghee Cho, is inspired by the novel Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) by Françoise Sagan. The story goes:

    Cécile, a carefree teenager, has spent her childhood in boarding schools. She has been living with her father, Raymond, a widow who is in his forties. They lead an idyllic existence where Cécile enjoys great freedom while her father has many mistresses.One summer, Cécile, her father Raymond, and Elsa, his mistress, are on holiday on the Côte d'Azur, in Southern France. Anne, a friend of Raymond’s late wife and who Raymond’s has vaguely invited to the villa shows up. Anne, who is closer in Raymond’s age, is a sophisticated, educated women unlike Elsa. Quickly, Anne disrupts the peaceful life at the villa: she sleeps with Raymond, announces their engagement, which prompts Elsa’s leave.Cécile is not happy, as Anne criticizes her idle lifestyle and her lack of intellectual ambitions. Cécile derives a plan with her summer fling, Cyril, by convincing him and Elsa to show up together as a couple at strategic points during their stay so make her father jealous. Raymond, unable to resist this provocation, seeks Elsa. Anne surprises them by chance in the nearby woods. Desperately, she takes her car and drives off a cliff.  Cécile and her father go back to their life, but Cécile is now feeling a new feeling: sadness.

    “Only when I'm in my bed, at dawn, with only the noise of cars in Paris, my memory sometimes betrays me: the summer comes back with all my memories. Anne, Anne! I repeat this name in a low murmur and for a very long time  in the dark. Something them comes up in me, that I welcome by name with my eyes closed: Hello Sadness.”

    Though the musical form of the quartet doesn’t follow the form of the novel, the essence of the music is very much inspired by the story and the delicacy of Sagan’s writing (who wrote Bonjour Tristesse at 18!), and the poem by Paul Éluard which inspired the title of the novel.

    - Bosba Panh (2018)


    “À Peine Défigurée”

    poem by Paul Éluard, from  La vie immédiate, 1932


    Adieu tristesse,

    Bonjour tristesse.

    Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond.

    Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j’aime

    Tu n’es pas tout à fait la misère,

    Car les lèvres les plus pauvres te dénoncent

    Par un sourire.

    Bonjour tristesse.

    Amour des corps aimables.

    Puissance de l’amour

    Dont l’amabilité surgit

    Comme un monstre sans corps.

    Tête désappointée.

    Tristesse, beau visage.




    Farewell Sadness

    Hello Sadness

    You are inscribed in the lines on the ceiling

    You are inscribed in the eyes that I love

    You are not poverty absolutely

    Since the poorest of lips denounce you

    Ah with a smile

    Bonjour Tristesse

    Love of kind bodies

    Power of love

    From which kindness rises

    Like a bodiless monster

    Unattached head

    Sadness beautiful face

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  • Story Lyrics Vespers

    Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,                                 

    Droops on the little hands little gold head.                                                

    Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!                                         

    Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.                    


    God bless Mummy. I know that's right.

    Wasn't it fun in the bath to-night?

    The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.

    Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.


    If I open my fingers a little bit more,

    I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.

    It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.

    Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.


    Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,

    And pull the hood right over my head,

    And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,

    And nobody knows that I'm there at all.


    Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.

    And what was the other I had to say?

    I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?

    Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.


    Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,

    Droops on the little hands little gold head.

    Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!

    Christopher Robin is saying his prayers


  • Story Simple Times
  • Story Lyrics Songs for the Rulers of the Universe

    I. I shut my eyes
    from “ Mad Girl’s Love Song” - Sylvia Plath

    I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
    I lift my lids and all is born again.

    The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
    I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
    And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.

    I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
    At least when spring comes they roar back again.

    II. Seaside
    from “ Pretty Halcyons Days” - Ogden Nash

    How pleasant to sit on the beach,
    On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
    And nothing at all to be done!

    No letters to answer,
    No bills to be burned,
    No work to be shirked,
    No cash to be earned,
    It is pleasant to sit on the beach
    With nothing at all to be done!

    To lave in the wave,
    Majestic and chilly,
    Tomorrow I crave;
    But today it is silly.

    The sun and the sand
    No contractor can copy;
    We lie in the land
    Of lotus and poppy;
    We live, calm and romantic,
    On the beach, on the sand, in the sun, in the sea !

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  • Story Lyrics Roadside Grave

    Roadside Grave (Japanese folk song)

    If I die, bury me by the roadside

    If I die, bury me by the roadside

    Then every passer by will offer flowers at my grave

    When I die, who will cry for me ?

    Oh! When I die, who will cry for me ? 

    What flower will it be?

    Will it be camelia? or will it be the cicada?

    In the pine mountains behind us?

    If I die, bury me by the roadside

    If I die, bury me by the roadside

    Then all the cicadas and all the camelia will cry for me. 

    When I die, bury me by the roadside

    Then every passer-by and all the passers-by

    Will offer flowers at my grave.


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by Bosba Panh