Image by Denis Valentine

Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

Lorna Goodison


Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

Lorna Goodison


Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

Our foreparents carved on
(lest they forget) maps, totems
symbols and secret names,

creating art when some
would claim we existed
in beast state.

Every negro in slavery days
had their own
hand-engraved calabash.

So they'd drink water from
grace vessels, their lips
kissing lines of maps

leading back to Africa,
to villages where relatives
waited for years

before they destroyed
the cooking pots
of the ones who crossed.


'Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash' from Controlling the Silver (University of Illinois Press, 2005),© Lorna Goodison 2005, used by permission of the author and the University of Illinois Press.

Books & cds by Lorna Goodison