April 2014

Bayou

The Teche was formed
By the wallow of a great snake
Say the old Indians.
The serpentine meanderings
Lend credence to such stories.
It moves slowly,
Indeed you cannot tell
It flows at all
Unless you throw
A stick out into the current.

Life here takes its cue
From the unhurried water.
No one moves too fast
And talk is slow.
Cars move as if
In a permanent school zone.
They move reluctantly
With the changing of the stoplight,
Crawling up to walking speed
Where no one walks if they can sit.

Stories told in French and accented
English are of old times
And gossip tends toward
Who has died lately.
They talk of what year of sugarcane
The Hebert’s are in
Who’s off shore this week,
And everyone holds on
’til Saturday night and
The Fait Do-Do.

No matter how sleepless
Or how much the head hurts
They trudge to Mass
On Sunday, the real end times
Of the week.
The afternoon spent in a
Return to the slow rhythm
And aimless wandering
Of another day on the banks
Of the bayou.

—Charles Darnell

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