Maternal Memories

I have this enchanting oil on canvas of my great-great-great grandmother Caroline Poincignon Trouche, painted by her husband Auguste circa 1830. He was a gifted Charleston artist well-known for the realistic qualities of his work, and in her eyes there is a tangible look of the love, dignity and compassion for which she was known. They were married at St. Mary’s Church in 1826, and lived on Church Street in the old city. She was gifted in music, and his work survives in famed paintings featured at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Both were second-generation French immigrants, and I have composed a poem below her photograph in the language she grew up speaking to honor her on Mother’s Day.

Le doux visage de notre matrone de famille,

qui nous savons d’huile sur toile.

Vit encore dans sa lignée aujourd’hui,

avec nous toujours comme la caresse d’un voile.

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