• Homage to Richmond Barthé

    Derrick Austin

    Winter 2024

    If Barthé’s Boy with a Flute
    has completed his performance,
    eyes rising to meet the eyes
                                               of the one who listened
    seated in a flowering grove,
    then, perhaps, the viewer is invited to partake
                                                                            of music and loose time.

    If, however, the boy has not begun playing
    in the flowering grove,
    or has refused to begin, the song remains metaphysical
    but turned inward, private,
                                             thus the viewer must attend
    to the bronze fact of his attenuated body,
                                                                    where his heart would be.

    “Truly it is a great thing to know of the rich heritage
    of this French-speaking nation
    and to learn we are all brothers under the skin after all,”
    Barthé said to a reporter in 1949,
    struggling with the Haitian president’s commission,
    heavy with his mother’s death,
    desolate and money-troubled.

    Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA Editions 2021), winner of the 2020 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions 2016).

    Read More

    Web Design and Development by Riverworks Marketing