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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)

TITLE: Joseph's Spray Of Many Colors
By Mariane Holbrook


The boy’s name was Joseph, the same as my son’s
Which gave him an edge from the start.
His mother had brought him to school that first day;
Already he’d stolen my heart.

I greeted him warmly but that didn’t stop
The tears that spilled down from his eyes.
He clung to his mother and begged her to stay.
Heartbroken, she said her goodbyes.

I seated him close to my desk near the front
In case he’d be scared and in need.
He spoke not a word the entire first day
And kept his eyes closed when I’d read.

His clothes were quite tattered and soiled as well;
His tennis shoes tied with some string.
I thought of the clothes that my sons had outgrown
And pondered what things I could bring.

The unopened crayons were still on his desk;
Had he never used crayons before?
I passed out new art sheets and asked them to draw
Their house with its windows and door.

He chose a black crayon and carefully drew
A house so forbidding and grim.
He colored it black, all the windows and door,
For reasons known only to him.

Each day after lunch, students worked on their art,
Selecting bright crayons at will.
But Joseph continued to color with black
Until the day Joseph fell ill.

I stopped by his hospital room every day
And took him some art paper, too.
We talked about colors and finally I asked,
“Is black rather special to you?”

Since we were alone with no students around,
He told me they lived in a shack.
Some discarded tarpaper covered their house;
That’s why his “art houses” were black.

We talked about colors in God’s crayon box,
And why God created each hue.
“He made every color for gardens on earth,
To show He loves me and loves you.”

So thrilled Joseph was with the colors he saw
In books that I brought him to read.
That soon all the crayons were gone from his box;
He’d used them all up with great speed.

One day I arrived at his hospital room.
The room had been stripped and was bare.
Propped up on a table some artwork was left;
My name had been written with care.

His mother was with him the last time I went.
She thanked me for prayers for her boy.
Before I had left, both confessed Christ as Lord.
We wept but the tears were of joy.

Across his small coffin fresh flowers were laid,
“I have a request,” he had said.
“Don’t use just one color, all red or all white.
Please use many colors instead.”

I knew in my heart in the great heavenlies
A small boy looked down from above.
He thanked the Lord Jesus for colors He’d made
And painting his flowers with love.

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Beautiful.....mission-minded .....sentimental...poetry-story-telling that may not easily be erased from the reader's mind....and may be based on a true experience. Colours re-echoing the need to evangelize/witness. A purposeful writig. Thanks very much for this contribution.
Beautiful.....mission-minded .....sentimental...poetry-story-telling that may not easily be erased from the reader's mind....and may be based on a true experience. Colours re-echoing the need to evangelize/witness. A purposeful writig. Thanks very much for this contribution.
Lynda Schultz 12/11/09
Very moving—and I love the title.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/11/09
Your poem touched my heart--so beautifully expressed of your sweet teacher's heart. Your gift of description brought vividly to mind the black drawings of the boy to contrast with the colors on his coffin. Great message here.
Helen Dowd12/11/09
Oh this is a wonderful poem. I read it with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. This poem has to be a winner. It tells such a sad/happy story, while bringing in the theme of all the colours...I highly praise this poem and I do hope that the judges will too. Thanks so much for sharing this heart wrenching story poem with us...God's blessings...Helen
Linda Payne12/12/09
I work with elementary children and some of their stories just break my heart. Thank you for this beautiful story about little Joseph. We need to find ways to "color" our children's world.
Beth LaBuff 12/14/09
Excellent--from the title to the allusion to the name (Biblical Joseph's colored coat), the meter, the rhyme. Wonderful, poignant story here! Wow!
Jim McWhinnie 12/14/09
Smooth as multi-colored silk ... exquisite work ... no, I would offer exquisite art ...
Bryan Ridenour12/14/09
A beautifully told story in a masterful poetic form. Well done!
Barbara Lynn Culler12/14/09
A bitter sweet story, and most likely true. I bet the little boy is seeing all kinds of colors now!
Colin Swann12/16/09
I absolutely loved this. Wonderful! Colin
Aaron Morrow12/16/09
Absolutely beautiful Mariane, it's masterpieces like this that remind me just how blessed I am to be a part of FW so that I can experience the joy of reading what our great poets share. Great work, touching and lovely.
Catrina Bradley 12/16/09
What a wonderful story told in rhyme and rhythm. You packed a lot of story into these few verses, and your meter is right-on. Great, great job.
c clemons12/17/09
Very heartwarming and believeable. Everything worked except for the last line for me, but good job!
Carol Penhorwood 12/17/09
Absolutely moved me to tears. Great artistry here!