Grant Lawrence, contest entry 37

How ironic that water, as from a fountain, is so clear, and the Drinking Fountain of our contest, is so muddied

and the color of God?

Literati,

I had asked every entrant to respond to the monument to our cruel history I found festering in an antique shop in the pan-handle of Idaho, in any manner they chose, either an essay, a personal experience, a lament or confession, an editorial, or a poem.  As we have seen, the manner of response has varied, and while the intent has always been to promote a healing, catharsis does not come easy, as we examine our own attitudes that, in spite of our best intentions, perpetuates the hurt and pain of 400+ years of slavery and racism.  Grant’s Lawrence’s poem suggests a healing. I must apologize to him, as he was one of the first to submit an entry for our contest, and randomly is one of the last to be posted.  Grant has often responded to the prompts that we offer with poetry, and this is not exception.  Thanks for sending this in.

 

A souvenir of despair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Drinking Fountain

by Grant Lawrence

 

Will you drink from my cup?

Will you drink my blood?

Feast upon my breast

To quench your endless thirst

Will I still feel your rough hand over my mouth?

The oppression of your sweat, your tobacco saliva

The drag across that field of toil

A field of thorns that pricked my innocence

And stones that grazed my soul

Where the thoughts of me thinking

That we are all made from clay

Got lost in the muddy river

As the dead fish decayed

 And swam no more

And even in the baked sun

Our shadows remained

As the swinging ghost

Hangs steadfast from the crimson tree

Will you drink from my cup?

Will you drink my blood?

And feast on my breast

Be my child now

Because we have traveled far

A journey no memoir could justify

Through the cold shallows and between the lines

Will you join me at the fountain?

And drink from my cup

With no regrets nor shame

As death has caste its steady grip

Into a golden field with no borders

Where hearts embrace the night

And drums call out from far away

Yet fear not, for there is no fear

As love is below, between, beyond and above

For it is my tank and reserve

With no battles now left to fight

In souls reflected

Now that I am no longer ripe

Can you hold my gaze, and hear our song?

Join our circle hidden from view

And close your eyes and sing our hymn

 

Will you dance with me in daylight?

Will you take my wizened, russet hand?

As forgiveness streaks my face

And hold me without reserve or prior motive

So that we may whisper amongst the trees

 And Caress the stars and moon

At the edge of this rippled mirror

To become the laughter of children

For God is the color of water

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

12 comments

  1. Avatar
    Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

    You crafted some fine imagery here.

    I think it’s essential, with modern poetry not meant to be in the style of or a parody of the style of older forms, to take very great care with words. “Feast upon my breast” was a real mood-disruptor for me and probably not in a way you might have hoped it would be. In other places you used imagery that felt to me awfully conventional.

    But “For God is the color of water” was a wonderful conclusion here. It might seem simple; with the best of simplicity, it’s big enough to encircle the profound.

  2. Avatar
    Lady Pafia Marigold says:

    Love your poem Grant for its vivid imagery & cadence. The cadence feels like water skipping down stream slowly over layers of pebbled ridges in a straight line march. I would be interested to know if the intent was Christian from the line, “Will you drink my blood?” which I took to be Jesus being the One speaking the poem. I sensed struggles of the African-American slave advocated through the majority of the lines until the last stanza where it turned universal until the word, “God” which returned the poem to western religion to me. Despite this, I thought your last line of “For God is the color of water” was the best flash ending of the contest to date.

      • Avatar
        grant laurence says:

        Thank you for your feedback, Sarah – much appreciated! …and why do you think that it seems to be just the two of you “these days”?

          • Avatar
            Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

            …because thinking and talking about hard stuff within the framework of a contest meant to think and talk about the hard stuff is so, you know, uncomfortable?

  3. Avatar
    Lady Pafia Marigold says:

    Counting the lines above to centre, centre to below, I am awed by the centring placement of “Will you join me at the fountain?” as what appears to me as the division line between the torture of earthly slavery of frightening treatments unto death & the heavenly reward of beyond fears. This question to me defines what this contest/conversation is at its best & its underlying intention to heal not harm. In this line is forgivence, an invitation to heal with God, those who have crossed over & oneself. From opening line to centre & from centre to flash ending, I remain a devoted fan of your poetry Grant.

    • Avatar
      grant laurence says:

      Thank you for your comments and kind words – you flatter me! To be sure this prose leads to forgiveness, even under the most difficult circumstances such as slavery. In truth even today, although distinctly different of course, we all (most of us) slaves. Thanks again and best wishes to you!

      • Avatar
        Lady Pafia Marigold says:

        The subject of slavery is an important one, so I will politely disagree with “most of us” Grant. The statistics I could find suggest 45.8 million people live in slavery today (most in labour usage & sex trade) which out of 7.2+ billion people is less than .6% of the world population. Still, these people matter & their treatments are inexcusable, needing human rights attentions & actions. The theme of this contest “The Drinking Fountain” began as a post-slavery set of inhumanities & injustices & inequalities in the USA in the 19th & 20th centuries; however the issues while constantly evolving remain global & prevalent today.

        • Avatar
          Lady Pafia Marigold says:

          Thank you for your kind & thoughtful poem, remarks & questions to others above Grant. Please feel free to also read & leave a comment on my latest story which appears as #38 following your own poem. I also hope you will accept my FB Friendship request that has been sent to you when your schedule allows. Both would be appreciated. Hope to see you as well as your good wife at the party in June. Blessings.

  4. Avatar
    Laura G says:

    This poem touches me with beautiful and shocking imagery, woven skillfully together. It acknowledges history, yet asks for a fresh slate to write on and love with. The last stanza really gets me (and the last line says it all). Water is all colors, and essential to life on Earth.

    • Avatar
      grant laurence says:

      Thank you for that, Laura – much appreciated! Do you find that you write best when you are out of your ‘mind’?

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