The Voyageurs


A modern-day voyageur on the Miramichi

How I revere the voyageur men
who set out on their own,
to chart the lands beyond their ken
deep in the wild unknown.

They left behind the life so fine
of Paris and Montreal,
to walk along the spruce and pine
and heed adventure’s call.

River deep and forest tall,
muskeg and rocky ledge.
A land the King of France would call
quelques arpents de neige.

Where survival hinged upon
the turn of the paddle’s blade,
where beaver, muskrat, wolf and fawn
dwelt in the peaceful glade.

A song would pace their paddle’s stroke,
a vow keep their hearts true,
a longing for their kindred folk
well-met at the rendez-vous.

I watch their birch-bark boats glide by
my campfire on the glen.
I hear their lusty voices cry,
Come join us voyageur men!

I wave and bid them au revoir,
I know we’re worlds apart.
I’ll let them roam away and afar,
yet hold them close in my heart.


 Nanook of the Nashwaak 
 Reach out and touch a rock 

thinker
I watch their birch-bark boats glide by
my campfire on the glen.

Click here to hear Nanook recite this poem.

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