Tag Archives: Anne Porter

Night has gone like a sickness.

At this time of year when nights grow longer, and we can’t get rid of them soon enough in the mornings, now it is, for some reason, that I want to share this poem I’ve been mulling over, about night being gone altogether. Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to live where bell songs would visit your garden at the break of day?

FOUR POEMS IN ONE

At six o’clock this morning
I saw the rising sun
Resting on the ground like a boulder
In the thicket back of the school,
A single great ember
About the height of a man.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Night has gone like a sickness,
The sky is pure and whole.
Our Lady of Poland spire
Is rosy with first light,
Starlings above it shatter their dark flock.
Notes of the Angelus
Leave their great iron cup
And slowly, three by three
Visit the Polish gardens round about,
Dahlias shaggy with frost
Sheds with their leaning tools
Rosebushes wrapped in burlap
Skiffs upside down on trestles
Like dishes after supper.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

These are the poems I’d show you
But you’re no longer alive.
The cables creaked and shook
Lowering the heavy box.
The rented artificial grass
Still left exposed
That gritty gash of earth
Yellow and mixed with stones
Taking your body
That never in this world
Will we see again, or touch.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

We know little
We can tell less
But one thing I know
One thing I can tell
I will see you again in Jerusalem
Which is of such beauty
No matter what country you come from
You will be more at home there
Than ever with father or mother
Than even with lover or friend
And once we’re within her borders
Death will hunt us in vain.

-Anne Porter

Everywhere singing and perfume.

FIRE, and TORRENTIAL RAIN

It’s midnight, I’m alone
My house is suddenly sheathed
In a thick tent of rain
These sheaves of throbbing water
This quenching cold
This dark poured into dark
Are the pure opposite
Of fire, and yet this night
Is whispering and singing like a fire.

 

 

Fire, most beautiful of flowers,
Whose only perfume is brightness,
You have no season, and you bloom
On the highest of high altars
And under the vagrant’s pot.
Through centuries on centuries
Like Christ you are everywhere,
To kindle the half cigarettes
Which the homeless find in the gutters,
And the tall paschal candle.

-Anne Porter

Hiding under their feathers.

THE BIRDS OF PASSAGE

You are the one who made us
You silver all the minnows in all rivers
You wait in the deep woods
To find the newborn fox cubs
And unseal their eyes
You shower the sky with stars

You walk alone
In the wild royal darkness
Of the heavens above the heavens
Where no one else can go.

When the fragile swallows assemble
For their pilgrimages
When the hummingbirds
Who are scarcely more
Than a glittering breath
Set out for the rain forest
To drink from the scarlet flowers
On the other side of the world
With only now and then
The mast of a passing ship
For a resting place and an inn

When the Canada geese
Are coming down from the north
When the storks of Europe
Stretch out their necks toward Egypt
From their nests on the chimney tops
When shaking their big wings open
And trailing their long legs after them
They rise up heavily
To begin their autumn flight

You who speak without words
To your creatures who live without words
Are hiding under their feathers

To give them a delicate certainty
On the long dangerous night journey.

-Anne Porter