Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
In the second stanza, composed of nine verses, even the notion of cer-
emony, usually the province of culture, is appropriated by winter: 'Dans
la blanche cérémonie / Où la neige au vent se marie' (In the white cere-
mony / Where snow and wind are wed). It is within this wintry land-
scape, however, that Vigneault's father constructed his home: 'Dans ce
pays de poudrerie / Mon père a fait bâtir maison' (In this land of pow-
der/My father had his home built). Whether we approach this verse
literally and specifically, as a question of Vigneault's personal family and
dwelling, or figuratively and broadly, as a symbol of his national heri-
tage, it is clear that the landscape now contains a cultural component -
the home - which can stand up to nature and to which the poet pledges
allegiance: 'Et je m'en vais être fidèle /A sa manière, à son modèle' (I go
my way faithful / To its manner, to its model). The home then serves not
as a simple retreat but as a rallying point for human contact and com-
munity: 'La chambre d'amis sera telle/Qu'on viendra des autres
saisons / Pour se bâtir à côté d'elle.' (The guest room will be such / That
in other seasons someone will come / To build beside it.) The entire sec-
ond stanza resounds with echoes of French-Canadian cultural heritage,
from La terre paternelle and Maria Chapdelaine ('Mon père a fait bâtir mai-
son') to the colonies founded in Charles Guérin and Jean Rivard ('se bâtir à
côté d'elle'), to mention but a few examples that igure into this topic. To
build a home in the wilderness is to construct a personal place that re-
flects national values, such as resistance, persistence, and community.
The third stanza is a highly significant variant of the first one in which
the refrain itself, the melodic song, is undone by the winter wind ('Mon
refrain, ce n'est pas un refrain, c'est rafale'; My refrain is not a refrain, it's
a gust of wind) and the warm home is repossessed by the cold ('Ma mai-
son, ce n'est pas ma maison, c'est froidure'; My home is not a home, it's
the cold), clear setbacks for culture in the face of nature.
The nine verses of the fourth stanza not only identify the reasons for
the earlier demise of culture, but re-establish if not the supremacy of
culture then at least its equal standing with nature as a component of
Quebec's identity:
De ce grand pays solitaire
Je crie avant que de me taire
À tous les hommes de la terre
Ma maison, c'est votre maison
[From this vast solitary land / I cry out before keeping quiet / To all men
on earth / My home is your home]
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