Au Revoir

Soon after the proud accomplishment of Expo’67 came a period of extreme separatist sentiment in Quebec, which continued into the mid-1980s. Like many primarily English-language Montrealers, I contemplated a move to Toronto in order to ensure remaining in ROC (the rest of Canada).  This poem was written at that time, but it could represent uprooting yourself from any land you love. I remember how, so many years later, my grandmother, who fled from persecution to Canada at the age of 17 – with a labor socialist husband and a babe in arms – would still sing songs about the beauties of Russia. The land of your birth never leaves you.

Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6f/Malbaie_River_in_Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie_National_Park%2C_Quebec%2C_Canada.jpg/1280px-Malbaie_River_in_Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie_National_Park%2C_Quebec%2C_Canada.jpg

Au Revoir

By Rabbi Corinne Copnick

 

Lands where my fathers cried

brought me to birth

on rich, free man’s soil

where each one has worth.

 

Quebec, how I love you,

rivers flow through my mind;

Quebec, how I’ll miss you,

shall I leave you behind?

 

Your green forests encircle,

binding me close,

Lest I grow to feel alien

in my very own house.

 

Quebec, how I love you,

you sing in my soul.

 

©️Corinne Copnick, Montreal, 1984; Los Angeles, 2017. All rights reserved.