Welcome are the passionately curious

"There was one Elephant--a new Elephant--an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his 'satiable curiosities." Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Southern Thing

I didn’t understand my Southern self
Until I moved to South Dakota—I
Was just thirteen, then. I was—you might say—
A novelty. Very nice, that. It gave me
A sense of place in being out of place.
Years later, at that college—How was I
To know there was guilt being Southern, that
A limit on my social standing—mind
So filled with culture notwithstanding. I
Did try to change, to smooth my talk, to make
Straight my meandering speech. Lost the cause.
My heart was cheered by my kind friend—he said
I was quite different from the rednecks,
Hillbillies, “good ole’ boys.” I did believe
Him. Got used to my rambling cadence, thought
I was okay to walk about and talk
In good society—You understand,
I think, now, why when she said, “I’m glad
I’m not a Southerner,” what I heard was,
“I’m glad I’m not like you.”

[This poem hurt to write more than I thought it would.]


  1. Question, is the last "she" supposed to be a "he" I'm just wondering because I'm a little confused.

    I like it though :)

  2. No, "she" is correct. :) Thanks for the feedback.

  3. I must confess to being a bit prejudiced against Southerners (mostly due, I think, to being forced to move to the South at the age of twelve from a place where I had friends and determining beforehand in my young mind to obstinately hate everything entirely), and this has been especially thought-provoking to me as a result. I feel like a jerk now, and rightfully so.

  4. Greg, your honesty and specificity is lovely. :) Thank you very much for saying how the poem impacted you: it tells me I'm doing my job right. :)

  5. Very nice poem. I must say, Beth is best when Beth is Beth. Not when Beth is trying to be what Beth is not. :)