Poems: Teche Series   

      These poems were inspired in part by the memoire of Melanie Durand Grossman entitled Crossing Bayou Teche. Being from southern Louisiana and having relatives in and around  St. Martinville, Melanie's book was especially meaningful to me. 

      I hope you enjoy the poems. They were fun and fulfilling to write.

     - Glenn Currier

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Puffs of Dust               Print this poem only

 

The smell of new rain

permeates the air

the first heavy drops raise little puffs of dust in the dirt.

Covered porches protect her

from the storm outside

and the dread inside

where benign neglect reigned

ennui and death strained

children’s hearts

threatened to pull apart

the joy sleeping in their wondrous souls

that lived beyond the confines

of the dark brooding grip of family

inside the ancestral home.

Written 7-29-21

Summer Nights on the Porch            Print this poem only

 

June bugs crash into screens

mosquitoes whine

to get in by any means

dogs howl, frogs croak

like the bass fiddle

in Lightning Hopkins’ blues.

Sticky moisture from the bayou

envelopes, and soaks through,

permeates still night air

like the sad strains of Claude’s La Mer.

 

Growing up in southern climes

slowed days, stretched years

put me on the edge of tears

yearning for escape from there

from dominion of church

and Mama’s monarch perch.

 

Hints of her softness

were so rare and spare

that when she let us smooth her hair

we forgot how parched were we

for a trace of this tender intimacy

on summer nights’ scorch

spent on our homestead porch.

 

Author’s Note: Before the advent of air conditioning families, especially children, spent lots of time on their front porches. This poem is an attempt to describe the experiences of one little Cajun-French girl.

 

Written 8-18-21

Being a Caterpillar            Print this poem only

 

The feeling of fear meeting someone for the first time

the delight looking at a little child playing

near ecstasy smelling a magnolia blossom

a secure feeling upon seeing Pampas Grass.

 

The unsafe feeling being with the blonde man

who had been nothing but kind to me

then… finally I remembered

the sandy-haired boy who made an object of me

at age seven behind the barn on a summer day.

 

So much of the self is hidden

chaining me to the old

keeping me in a caterpillar state

stumbling over chunks of earth

ignorant of what can happen

in the cocoon.

 

But learning, writing, remembering

can make me a Monarch

flying into spring.

 

Author’s Note: I bow to Ray C. Stedman and his article: “The Great Mystery” and to Melanie Durand Grossman’s memoire, “Crossing Bayou Teche,” that brought a kind of enlightenment to her, her cousins, and others. The book effected in some of us a new awareness and freedom from formerly hidden realities that had shackled us to the past. 

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A Crossing            Print this poem only

 

As she crossed the bayou

the dark lily-padded strip of water

seemed a gateway to a wider world.

The train departed

leaving her family and church behind

anxious but excited as the locomotive

slowly picked up steam headed for a world

she had only seen in pictures.

 

I am on the road

a refugee

an immigrant

with infinite possibilities ahead

wrapped in a small universe I accept

but with freedom

to search

always moving toward

a home with no limits.

 

Author’s note: Inspired by Melanie Durand’s memoire, ”Crossing Bayou Teche.” Poem three of my Teche series.

 

Written 8-22-21

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