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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: From the Lawn of St. Mary's on Lincoln and King
By william price
09/07/10


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It was dark
Walking
I remembered that
Streetlights whispered

Hey, black man, caution
Stay in my illumination


Traffic signals flashed yellow
Over and over
Yellow globes screamed
In muted warning
Swinging above intersections
Like silent sirens
Flashing and blinking
Again and again and again
A flash
A blink
I didn’t listen
I didn’t see
I didn’t …

Not much traffic
Some taxis sped by
Blurs of yellow
I turned a corner
Though
A street corner
A right off King
Street
I saw the sign
Don’t know why
I took a right
Home was straight
A new home
In a new town
In a new day
But
I was sad
And

I turned a corner

A right off King
Street
Unto Lincoln
Avenue

Not much noise
Just
Echoes of taxis
Whizzing up and down
King
The street

I walked down Lincoln
I didn’t listen
I didn’t see
I didn’t …

The moon was full
A yellowish glow
Its illuminating globe hung low
Over Lincoln
It didn’t blink
But would fade
In and out
As dark clouds
Fluttered by
Soaring with winds
Towing a storm
Thundering in distance
Firing like squadrons of muskets
In unison

Between the clouds
The moon’s reflected light
Silhouetted a cross
Atop the concrete steeple
Of St. Mary’s Cathedral
One minute there was a cross
The next
It was gone
From my sight
As the reflected light
From the moon in full
Was blocked from my eyes
By passing clouds on winds
Towing a storm
Of thundering cannons and firing muskets
In unison

Looking
Away
From the sky
The moon
And
The Cross
High in the night sky
That faded
In and out of my sight
I gazed down the Avenue
Of Lincoln

A beacon of red light flashed
Jazz
The neon sign read
Jazz
I could hear a sax
A soulful sax
It cried out my name

Black man, come here
I understand you
I am you
I am playing your song
Our song
Not from some perfumed book
Old white people sing
Written by somebody who’s been dead a hundred years
Think
Black man
Come back to me
Black man
Black man
Come back to me


I could hear the sax
After I turned the corner
Onto Lincoln from King
I listened
I saw
But
I didn’t …
Yet
Anyway

The wind whisked leaves
From across the street
Dead leaves
Like old hymns, to me at the time
From the lawn of St. Mary’s

One leaf blew into my hand
I caught it
It came from an Oak
Across the street
At
St. Mary’s
It was dead
So it seemed
Brown and crackled
But

I put it to my ear
Like a seashell
I heard my momma’s voice
From the Mississippi coast
Singing to me
From her grave

Singing about Jesus'
Freedom
She'd sing
The power of freedom
She’d sing
The cost of freedom
She’d sing
The appreciation of
Freedom
She’d sing
The blindness to freedom's color
She'd sing
Walking in freedom
She’d sing
Living freedom
She’d sing loud and proud

She was dead as the leaf I held
But her song was the same
Her voice
Alive

Her song was alive as the leaf was dead

I crossed the street
And stood under the steeple
And the Oak
And I looked up
And saw the cross
Its silhouette
In the moonlight
I stood in its shadow
And I wept
And knelt down
And picked up leaf after leaf
Heard song after song

All types and styles

All
Alive

All singing
Freedom

I turned around
On Lincoln
And walked back up to
King

I took a right towards home
On King Street
I could hear
I could see
I could think

I was free


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This article has been read 432 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood09/10/10
Poetry isn't normally my "thing" and I tend to skim over the poems in the Challenge. But this - this caught and held my attention. I like the uneven cadence and the rythm, as well as the message. Very good!
Linda Payne09/11/10
Powerful poem, great word pictures. The style and cadence seemed to magnify each image.
Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/14/10
Wow this was a powerful piece.
Rachel Phelps09/15/10
Wow. This is amazing. Incredible.
Melanie Kerr 09/16/10
Excellent. I walked beside you throughout th poem. I loved the structure and the used of repeated phrases. Really rally good!
Barbara Lynn Culler09/16/10
This was powerful! I LOVED how you referred to LINCOLN and KING. I picked up on that right away.

This should be a winner!
Cheryl Harrison 09/16/10
This is good. I sensed the tension of bondage at the beginning and felt the relief of freedom at the end. I picked up on the shadow of "Lincoln" and "King" as well. Great job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/16/10
What an interesting style! I was pulled along and at first I thought he was going to get mugged or something, but this was better.
Pat Guy 09/17/10
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! I knew I wouldn't be disappointed! LOVED it! Man! This was soooo goooood! Great job Bill!