Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Boy am I glad I opened what I thought was a piece of junk mail that came to me at school today. A letter from the University of Georgia and the Society for Humanistic Anthropology informing me that I won the second place prize in their Ethnographic Poetry Competition for my "Bois Sec Suite." Bois Sec was a real live Cajun musician. Many of you may not know that my father was a fine Cajun dancer--he even taught it for many years, and sometimes I would travel with him to bard or shows--anywhere, really, to dance, and that's how I became interested in the music and the musicians. My family, the Pelegrin side, is Cajun, and they speak a few French phrases in the home, but this music was never played to me. My great grandmother was very old school, and she lived a long time, so her influence had a far reach, but I never herad Cajun music. I never heard it until my father began to dance.
Here are some lines from the poem. Well, actually it's the second section of the poem
ii. Bois Sec Gets a Squeeze Box
Me, I started young with my fooling.
Used to, I'd sneak up top the barn
and play my brother's acordion.
Thought he couln't see or didn't care,
him working sun to sun out in the fields.
Still, I watched that dirt road for his figure,
a speck to warn me when to sneak
the music back in its dark case.
Little did I know that music would sound far--
most likely all the times I thought
I was singing to women who danced in the clouds
ten acres of fields heard my words.
One day he come up and caught me.
Hearing me squeeze that box better than him
got him mad enough to throw it out.
Soon after I saved up three dollars
and bough my own off a dead man's wife.
She twiseted the coins in a pocket square
dug from her brassiere and wished me
ruination at the crossroads. Black magic,
I thought it was, playing well enough
to follow Amedee to dances. He only
let me ring triangle back of the band,
but I thought I had poweres, still.
Chank a chank--Play, Bois Sec, Play!
Shoot. Them days was good.