Thursday, September 11, 2014

Acadian Connection

I wrote this poem while in Nova Scotia after visiting the Melanson Settlement near Port Royal, which was the first French establishment in the new world in 1605, two years before Jamestown, Virginia.  The place is on the Annapolis River where the Bay of Fundy feeds into it, creating a mix of salt water and fresh water.  The Melanson family lived there from the early 1600s until 1755, when the British expelled all of the Acadians from Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada, sending them back to France or to the Colonies where some made the trek to Louisiana to become "Cajuns" instead of "Acadians".  The Melanson family was very large, beginning with a husband and two wives (one of which had died in childbirth) producing 21 children.  From those children, hundreds of offspring emerged over time but when the Great Expulsion happened in 1755 their land was given to British Planters who came from the Colonies to live in Nova Scotia.  When Melansons returned to Nova Scotia years later, their property was owned by others.  Today, an archaeological dig has been done to find many remnants of life in the Acadian time.  The artifacts were taken to the Historical Museum in Halifax.  One can learn about the Acadians from plaques at the Melanson Settlement and see artist's paintings of what life there may have been like during their time.  We spent some time there and hiked out through the meadows covered with wildflowers to a place where the trees guarded the river bank.  It was a very moving experience for me because I am a child of the Acadian experience too, as are many of us with "Cajun" roots.

Acadian Connection

The land, the ocean, the people
People I never knew but feel
Saddened by their fate,
Sent away from their homes,
Their farms, their livelihood,
To Live a life as outsiders,
as strangers,
as castaways,
Until they reached a new land
to start over.
Acadia-the land of their birth
The land they had farmed
And built dykes to keep the ocean away.
Acadia-happy home of their
Ancestors and Children
Now repossessed by the
Conquerors who sent them away.

August, 2014

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