Earl Barnes: The Fountain Poet

street poems from our friend Earl, the Fountain Poet of Savannah


Tall Pines

As you stretch across the forest

The Mighty Redwoods you’re called

the towering sight.

Evergreens, a Christmas Tree

Covered in snow. December and the

Nativity, a star begins to glow,

Like the rainforest you provide oxygen

For all. Take them away and man will


Growing from the dirt a stick with

Leaves and a seed. In this race

You are the one who leads.


Life is Death

Rejoice for them that sleep

They are souls that belong to God,

Souls he will keep

In order for a seed to grow

It must die. In the dirt, the body.

But the spirit to the sky

All must go, then the judgment

But death is first, we must die

To self in order to quench our

Spiritual thirst.


Sitting Around The Water Fountain

While sitting watching the fountain flow

Tourists come, taking pictures that glow

I beg to take one picture for small change

Knowing if the police would catch me,

I would be taken from this watery range

Homeless I am, shoes torn apart,

But as artist to writer,

the fountain caught my sight.

A wishing well, I thought, may be a new day

Perhaps the watery fountain has shown me the way.


My Personal Statement/ My Story
by Earl Barnes, the Fountain Poet

I was born in a little town called Sylvania, Georgia in Screven County. I was raised by my maternal aunt, Mary Ellen Bryant. She took my three sisters and I in because my mother wasn’t able to take care of us. She introduced us to church, but as a young man my life was full of trouble. Childhood molestation, not knowing my real father, and poverty led me to depression. My life seemed to stand still for a long time. Years later up in Ohio, I somehow managed to get married but after ten years it was over. I broke down. I cried. I found myself struggling to live for the next twenty years as a man who is homeless. But God (through my poetry) has found me in the streets and has brought me back to life. If it had not been for the Lord, I would be lost. (Amen).

I first started writing poetry in the summer of 1972 in Savannah, GA. I felt the call to write to the Latter Day Children, the children of today. (Amen).

At that time, I decided to call the book “The Ghetto Child” because I felt that God had handed something down to me – he’d handed something down to us to share. My grandfather “Uncle Merit” saw it in a vision of hope at the “old gray shack” in Sylvania, Georgia, my hometown.

My intention is to spread these mystical words all around the world, to try to reach as many of these Latter Day Children as I can, to help the poor and to bring this to the church. (Amen).

I thank God for those he placed in my life. Earlene, Catherine, Jaunita, Mary Bryant, Adell Williams, St. Paul shelter, Bull Street Baptist Church youth department, and the 1:00pm church without walls on Sunday. May the God of peace bless all of you for your contribution. (Amen).

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