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October 1961

Transcripted by Benoît Rheault from:

The March to Love

Quebec poet Gaston Miron.

The man of the hour has the face of a scourged Christ­
and you, Land of Quebec, Mother Courage
in your long march you are swollen
with our painful infectious dreams
witht the uncounted wasting of bodies and souls

upland back there I was born
your son in the old grated mountains of the north
I hurt and ache with the bite of birth
while in my arms my youth blushes

here are my knees so that men may forgive us
we have allowed our fathers' spirit to be degraded
we have allowed the word's splendor to be debased
till we were ashamed and hating ourselves in our brothers
we didn't know how to bind our suffering's roots
to the universal pain in each man hollowed out

I will join my burning companions whose struggle
breaks and shares the bread of our common lot
in the quicksand huddles of grief

we will make you, Land of Quebec
a bed of resurrections
and a thousand lightning metamorphoses
of our leavens from which the future shall rise
and of our wills which will concede nothing
men shall hear your pulse beating through history
this is us winding through the October autumn
the russet sound of roe-deer in the sunlight
this is our future, clear

and commited


1. This is a translation by Marc Plourde of Gaston Miron's poem L'Octobre. This translation is from The March to Love, a book published in 1987 in English by Ohio University Press. This book assembles selected poems, in the original French and in English, taken from Gaston Miron's L'Homme rapaillé, published by the Presses de l'Université de Montréal in 1970 and later by L'Hexagone.

2. The poem itself was written in the original French in October 1961.