I composed this piece from ideas drawn from a poetry workshop exercise that former Louisiana Poet Laureate Daryl Bourque gave at his Marais Bouleur family place near Church Point, La., in 2009. I visited Dr. Bourque’s place for an Acadiana Writing Project summer institute field trip. This turned out to be one of the favorite pieces in my portfolio. I read it at my Dad’s funeral on the hallowed grounds of that same church. I know I posted it before, but good stuff merits a re-post. .

If I am anyone owes much to where I’ve been

If I am anyone
Owes much to where I’ve been.
So be still a while.
Listen.
“Every head bowed, every eye closed.”
And hear the summer song 50 years ago,
After cow milkin’s done.

Sense the fragrance of sturdy folk–
Scrubbed with well water,
Groomed with Wild Root and talcum powder,
As they head over to the church house,
A neat frame building dressed in white asbestos slate.

The summer song from sturdy voices
Drifts across the pasture
From windows flung open wide
To hot July:
“Jesus saves, Jesus saves!”

If I am anyone
Owes much to where I’ve been.

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