Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
The penultimate stanza repeats the first, but its message of nature's
dominance over national identity ('mon pays, c'est l'hiver') is reversed
by the final stanza:
Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'envers
D'un pays qui n'était ni pays ni patrie
Ma chanson, ce n'est pas une chanson, c'est ma vie
C'est pour toi que je veux posséder mes hivers
[My land is not a land, it's the flip side / Of a land that was neither country
nor fatherland / My song is not a song, it's my life / It's for you that I long
to possess my winters]
Despite the seemingly negative beginning ('Mon pays, ce n'est pas un
pays'), by proclaiming his land to be the opposite ('l'envers') of a land
that was neither a country nor a fatherland ('patrie'), Vigneault implies
that it is now or can soon be a true land, a modern land, one that reaches
beyond its own culture and race to embrace those of humanity. And, by
declaring his song to be more than a song ('ma chanson ce n'est pas une
chanson'), but his very life ('c'est ma vie') and his very reason for resist-
ing and ultimately controlling winter ('C'est pour toi que je veux pos-
séder mes hivers'), Vigneault identifies his song as the humanistic
means of preserving that humanitarian identity. For Vigneault, 'la chan-
son, c'est un miroir' (the song is a mirror), but a mirror that reflects that
which was previously and otherwise invisible: 'La poésie étant plus
vaste que tout, étant ce je ne sais quoi d'insaisissable, s'incarne, en sa
forme la plus pure dans le poème écrit. Ou mieux dans la musique. La
chanson est une forme possible de cette incarnation' (in Gagné, Propos ,
34-5; Poetry, being more vast than anything, being that elusive some-
thing, assumes its purest form in the written poem. Or better yet in
music. The song is a possible form of this incarnation). This incarnation
is intimately linked to personal and national identity, based partly on
the past - 'La chanson est une identification. Nous sommes les porte-
parole de nos racines' (35; The song is an identification. We are the
spokesmen for our roots) - but especially as it informs the present and
forms the future: 'La chanson est un moyen vraiment moderne
d'expression … Elle correspond à la civilisation de la sensation vers
laquelle nous nous dirigeons.' (34; The song is a truly modern form of
expression … It corresponds to a civilizing of sensation towards which
we are heading.) Identity is not only foraged from the past, it is, espe-
cially, forged from the present to shape the future; a 'land' is not just
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