A Boy's Prayer - Foster Toppar

As naked as he stands in the sun
He prays in his heart his wills
To the God who weaves his daily meals
On plates from his merciful barn.

Oh! What baffles his little mind,
Not even the seas can sink it
Though he swims to remain fit
For hours non-stop only to be refined.

This photo taken by some seeker
Unravels the secrets of a caterpillar
Grooming himself into a butterfly
To soothe a world with his unsung lullaby.

A courage so courageous carries capricious
Cedis over indignation for the morrow,
Which the hands shall borrow
For life’s issues that tastes boisterous.

A boy stranded in-between two corners
Coils his fear in other to possess
A love difficult to access
In a world bound by countless strangers.

Photo © 2010 Foster Toppar


Prince Kwasi Mensah said...

There are many times I prayed this prayer myself, Foster. I can relate to the hardships and the miracles that occur within these hardships. Where there is a will, there is a way. The Boy's Prayer surely captures that.

Watch out for Foster Toppar's book of poetry. The title is Besides The Waters of Our Dreams. It is a collection of splendid poems set to hold you spellbound. Details will be out soon.



Adjei Agyei-Baah said...

Very touching, your peom like Prince commented make me reminisce about my childhood days in the pursuit of happiness and how God turned my desire into reality.I think every little child will have his portion in your work. Thanks for sharing.

Kindly let me know when your collection is finally out.

George Amoah said...

Great piece!!!!!!!

Foster Toppar said...

Thank you all for the comments. Dreams are part of human existence. We can never live without dreaming of what our lives should be like.
You'll all be notified when my anthology is out.

Darko Antwi said...

'A boy's prayer, by Foster Toppar, is one of the visionary poems that will go a long way to help build Ghanaian poetry.

By coincidence or design, it has been published on the occasion of OGOV's third anniversary - making it a prospective climax atop a wholesale of magnificent collection by this magazine.

I'm impressed, but not so surprised that this verse is coming from a poet who has sworn 'to awake, quicken, and provoke hidden and dormant talents' with his works.

'He prays in his heart', 'Oh! What baffles his little mind', 'To soothe...with lullaby', 'A courage so courageous', 'Coils his fear', 'That tastes boisterous'.

The above quotations from the various lines switch between hope and despair (vulnerability etc). As a poem ascend and descend in mood, it is very likely that readers will spot many senses - all disjointed. But in this case, Foster has created a swivel that links one sense to the other.

Yet, readers who are not familiar with the irregular order of statements in end-rhymes may become confused with the senses. For example, the inversion: 'He prays in his heart his wills', has to be rearranged by readers' faculty (as 'He prays his wills in his heart') before the meaning will be let out.

So that's that. Foster doesn't over-use inversions. Also he hasn't squeezed his sentences nor
missed-out too many parts of speech to achieve this desirable rhyme pattern. Does that mean Foster is deliberate on clarity?

Though vastly intelligent OGOV poets are, most of them seem to measure-up so well in Taylor's Yardstick. How well does Foster too fit within the measurement if it has taken you a minimum quota of mental strain to understand him? That's up to each reader to judge.

If I should be honest, Foster's photo looks clearer than those of Van G and Mrs Taylor. Yet theirs tell stories with better reflective proportions - thus with little or no margin of error. As Foster's poem goes through the prism of moods, I was expecting the boy (in picture) to be arms-folded, head-tilted, and looking up into the sky. Or he could have stood with arms-akimbo, looking afar-off with intent, and a sense of awe or bewilderment, or bravery towards 'a world bound by countless strangers'.

Since it has already taken Foster a great deal of manual and technical effort to combine both arts (literary & visual), let's pass on some credit, despite his inadequate camera skill.

As you read through and through, you will come to terms that Foster portrays prayer as any force of physical activity and any contemplative ideas or wishes that enters the mind. Hence, the posture and utterances of literal prayer is absent in his imagery.

However, this figurative illusion does not blurr the image of a young person wielding courage, transforming himself and his habitat. Foster explains it better with the pivotal 11th & 12th lines: 'Grooming himself into a butterfly, To soothe a world with his unsung lullaby'.

One question that remains crucial to me is: whether Foster is an optimist. If he is, will his view of a child's world in this poem, in particular, give any motivation to the youth he desire to reach. Or it has just reminded a few readers (including me) about their childhood frail ambitions and daydreams.

All in all, you are amazing, Foster.

Samuel Adjei Ntow said...

Its a great and beautiful as well, give us more brother

FOSTER said...

As today marks the independence day of our beloved country, Ghana, I'll be posting a poem on that subject on my blog; myfoskutter.blogspot.com, you can all check it out by tomorrow.

Mr. Antwi,thanks for such a review and a lecture. I appreciate these words coming from. I have taken them into consideration. You inspire me greatly with the wealth of knowledge you possess.

Am already working on a project (WIN GHANA PROJECT) to target the youth in first and second cycle schools to get to understand that dreams, no matter how high or huge can be achieved as long as they set their hearts and minds to it.

Also next time I'll try to take a better shot.

Happy Independence Day to all Ghanaians. Ghana is indeed a "Glorious Home All Nations Admire", said one Ghanaian poet yesterday during the review of Atukwei Okai's Poetry collection titled 'Mandela The Spear'. It was an amazing night of Arts and Poetry.