Content warning: Repeated mention of suicide.
In the following passage from a novel1, the narrator is a seven year old boy who has just been separated permanently from his suicidal mother, by Québec's child welfare social service department.
On nous a définitivement séparés. Pour ma sécurité et son équilibre. Cela m’a paru aussi logique que d’interdire la neige en hiver ou la sloche au printemps. Je savais bien, moi, qu’elle ne mourrait jamais et qu’il n’y avait que ses berceuses pour m’apaiser.
DeepL translates the last sentence to:
I knew that she would never die and that only her lullabies could soothe me.
If I were to translate "et qu’il n’y avait que ses berceuses pour m’apaiser" literally, I would come up with:
there were only her lullabyes for soothing me.
This translation doesn't make sense in the context of the sentence, and so DeepL's translation:
only her lullabies could soothe me
is much more likely to be correct. But I'm having trouble understanding how DeepL created its translation. I'm not sure if it's a use of "pour" that I dont' understand, or if instead the author is writing in a poetic way that needs to be re-interpretated to mean something different.
If I wanted to translate DeepL's translation, I might use "pouvoir" instead of "pour": "et qu’il n’y avait que ses berceuses qui pouvaient m’apaiser."
The literal translation of the "pour" version ("There were only her lullabies for soothing me") could make sense in a different context. For example, it would make sense in this context: "My mother didn't have enough money when I was a baby. There wasn't enough food to soothe me. She couldn't even afford a pacifier to soothe me. There were only her lullabyes for soothing me".
- How can I understand "Il n’y avait que ses berceuses pour m’apaiser" to mean "Only her lullabyes could soothe me"? Is it because "pour" has a meaning close to "pouvoir" here? Or is it because DeepL is re-interpreting poetic langauge? Or is it for some other reason? (And as always, can you give additional example sentences that might illustrate the concept I'm not understanding?)
1. From "La Bête à sa Mère" by David Goudreault, Chapter 1