Mais oui, dey tried to teach me
how to read back at school.
Mais book learnin’ didn’t stick wit’ me.
My mind was too stuck in the playree
Too full of shrimpin’
Dere was no room left.
I could spell “I”
But once they got up to dem four-
and five-letter words, it was all over.
I just wanted to be in de playree.
Tim Melancon (pronounced Meh-lohn-son) with Mike Tidwell (author), in Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast (2003), Vintage Books, New York.
Some images of the degraded Atchafalaya Basin: