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[Disaster wanders through the garden while the gardener retires for the
night. Look at the healthy seasons, the deserted paths, the happy waters;
look at the willow of your life, which weaves a basket of fruit. Look and
see not, sleep and hear not. / Praying mantises die around lamps, / What
the gardener doesn't see, the garden reflects.]
Tended by day, the garden - a symbol of life forces ('saisons de santé'),
freedom ('abandon'), happiness ('eaux heureuses'), creative activity
('tresse'), and productivity ('un panier de fruits') - lies unseen and un-
heard by the gardener, who, while conscious by day, remains insensi-
tive to the mysteries of the night ('la jardinière fait sa nuit'), which leads
to disaster and destruction ('le fléau erre'). The poet chides the gar-
dener - any individual who neglects his or her creative potential ('re-
garde et ne vois pas, dors et n'entends pas') - while remaining convinced
that the garden will reveal its secrets ('le jardin le reflète'), if only the
poet can decipher, release, and represent them, a conviction suggested
in the poem by the verse 'Des mantes religieuses meurent autour des
lampes,' where the imagery seems to free itself from the otherwise ex-
pository verses to achieve expressivity, albeit of a negative nature, since
the praying mantises (suggesting the flight into spirituality) die around
the lamps, not only those of daylight, but the light that the poet seeks to
illuminate the night. As Marcotte notes of Giguère's early works, the
poet is torn between 'l'espoir de la lumière et la sombre violence du feu'
( Le temps , 77; the hope of light and the sombre violence of fire).
In a key segment of 'Histoire naturelle' of the following year (1957),
Giguère seems better armed to produce the light that had failed:
dans les jardins suspendus une parade de feu
l'éclair en tête célèbre l'arrivée de la cendre
on met aux fleurs des couronnes de braise
qu'elles portent comme des reine s 22
[in the hanging gardens a parade of fire / led by lightning celebrates the
arrival of the ashes / onto the flowers are put crowns of embers / which
they wear like queens]
Here the gardens have already transcended material reality ('suspen-
dus') and have emerged from the darkness to become a spectacle of fire
('parade de feu'). And, although led by lightning ('l'éclair'), which can
disappear in a flash, the parade bears cinders ('cendre'), remnants of
consumed matter that nonetheless continue to glow with light and
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