by Pierre L’'Hermite
This text is
presented in the framework of the project "The
stories that history tells us: Afro-Créole literature from 19th Century
the Hermit and “To Father Chocarne”
MY MOST REVEREND FATHER,
An obscure and lowly Negro,
Listened, overwhelmed last week,
To your iridescent words.
He felt the light of faith
Shine within his soul:
Rejecting his consoling doubts
He sought the cross once more.
But this man, this Negro, Oh most
Lost in the glorious tumult of your austere words,
Lifted his eyes and heart from the world,
And the supreme call, the divine whisper
He had heard stirring within his soul
Vanished like a dying flame,
Like a fugitive memory
Pursued by the realities of the world;
Because he remembered that even in this church
Christ's Apostles permit men to scorn,
To relegate to distant pews,
Not great sinners, nor impure tyrants,
But throngs of wretched poor
Whose only fault, whose only crime,
In the eyes of white men who oppress them,
Is to have
You will cry out against such
As Christ drove the merchants from the temple,
You too must drive out evil men
Who seek in you an accomplice.
Thinking of the obscure and lowly poet
Captivated by your iridescent words
You will tell them, oh most Reverend Father,
That a white man who does not want a Negro to be his brother,
Has not the sacred right to call God his father.
(Tuesday, April 16 1867)
Translated by D.