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.

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2Guinea Woman

3For My Mother (May I Inherit Half Her Strength)


5Letters to the Egyptian

6The Road of the Dread

7Tamarind Season

8Songs for My Son

9My Will

10The Mulatta as Penelope

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12Keith Jarret - Rainmaker

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14This is a Hymn

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16Heartease II

17To Us, All Flowers are Roses

18After the Green Gown of My Mother Gone Down

19My Mother's Sea Chanty

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21Recommendation for Amber

22On Becomming a Tiger

23Turn Thanks to Miss Mirry

24To Mr William Wordsworth, Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland

25Aunt Rose's Honey Advice

26Morning, Morning Angel Mine

27Farewell Wild Woman

28Island Aubade

29Ode to the Watchman

30The Wandering Jew and the Arab Merchant on the Island of Allspice

31Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

32So Who Was the Mother of Jamaican Art?


34Controlling the Silver

35Bam Chi Chi La La: London 1969

Books by Lorna Goodison