Monday, November 29, 2010

Je Me Souviens

Some years ago, at a time when there was much talk about French Canada separating from its English counterpart, I visited Quebec.  Although I knew such thought folly (and still do), seduced by the beauty and "Frenchness" of the city,  and after trudging in rented snow shoes up the slope to The Plains of Abraham, I wrote the following from their point of view.



Thou, city where the river, 

the mighty river, narrows,

Keep your citadel intact,

Your stone walls circling you yet,

That unborn generations may say,

“This was New France, 

The way she was before defeat.

 And so she is today.”

Let The Plains of Abraham

with plaques abound

To tell the tale of what occurred

This bloody day.

How Wolfe did triumph,

How Montcalm fled.

How in the end, both generals, 

English and French, lay dead.

Thou, whom the Indians named Québec, 

Hold fast to your culture.

Keep your language undefiled

Though English tongue holds sway.

Live your Old World lives 

in this the New,

Spinning dreams over the years

Of a Québec libre some day.

*Je me souviens:  I remember.

Some say this refers to:  I remember … that, born under the lily (French royalty's fleur-de-lis, I am living under the rose (English rule).