I now have one regular patron who sends a monthly contribution to keep this poet alive. Yes, per usual, I'm a poor poet...and for some reason I'm a poor poet in its many meanings...but someone like my patron loves my work. If you become a sustaining patron I can guarantee you'll see writing from me on a regular basis. I do edit my mad. But I don't always hit it out of the park. At least my patrons have a chance to select from all my work...and they become the editors rather than the small-minded who often edit magazines and journals. Poet James Wright,one of his last books, held by two editors for the longest time that his wife Anne took to another publisher who snapped it up and it became a huge success. Now I don't have people like Robert Bly, Don Hall, or their equals I can send my poems to for a review before I put them on the internet or send to any publisher. I believe in opening up my "horde" for the world to critique or love. And it's expensive to send out my work, getting only rejection, so it's money I don't have for food, or the electric bill. Please send what you can via my email: via Paypal. I thank those who support me one way or another.


Thank you to those who have contributed via Paypal to support my writing. My account at Paypal is the same as my email: rikwrybac(at)

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Fifer--a Boy with a Fife and Red Pants

It doesn't matter what Edouard Manet
chose to do with his eyes and hands
He could have created the same sensations
with clay or a dictionary full of words
Instead some great loneliness touched
his intellectual acuity to gain the silence
of his paints so well we can hear the note

It is what happens to the old we know
when they sink into their last years
One look from them and we are judged
to our depth in full knowledge
of our frailties and imperfections
so much so that we leave the old alone
in their smaller worlds with numb hands

In clay the old artist can feel every grain
instinctively knowing when to stop
pushing it around into the form he expects
Is there enough water and more questions
filter the information through fingers and eyes
more sensations than we know exist
until their crafts explode out of their worlds

Here, Manet, lets his subject stand alone
to hold a fife that normally rests
inside a brass tube that contains and protects
or is this brass tube not a protective item
instead being another instrument with which
the boy produces the sound his fellows
and the moment of marshal music required

The sash that hangs around his shoulder
is not simply one piece of cloth sewn together
but joined so neatly to a brass ring that seems
to be as polished as the buttons on his black tunic
brass that has always lead the parade
and yet there are no drummers or coronets
along side for Manet to exploit in equal daubs

It is shadow that lends the music to this boy
the dark line beneath the sash or behind
the fife on the palm of his hand so unnoticed
by everyone except the artist himself
who sees this light and the lack of it in oils
in unexpected overtones of the note being played
by the boy in the red pants and spat-covered shoes

Where is this piper besides the eye of the painter
though we are to believe his place is among
other musicians as his eyes betray the concentration
necessary when others vibrate columns of air
in unseen instruments standing at the side
of a road in a small French town where Manet
sees these scarlet pantaloons with a black stripe

The boy's cap is jauntily tilted to his right
perhaps like other boys in the invisible band
or just an expression of his own youthful style
this cap with red crown and gold braid
adds nothing to the music but is the child's crown
that Edouard provides to this youthful musician
playing unknown music on a ghost street

Barry G. Wick

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