“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” – Matthew
Anne Porter raised five children and had to pursue writing on the side. She began writing poetry more seriously after her husband, painter Fairfield Porter, died in 1975. Anne published her first collection, An Altogether Different Language, a finalist for the National Book Award, at the age of 83.
Hopeful? You better believe it. Hopeful not to set self-imposed barriers, or somebody else’s barriers. After all, when it comes down to it most barriers exist only in the mind.
Just think if Anne Porter let age be a barrier. Not only would she have denied herself of joy of the creating beautiful verse, she would have deprived the world of her beautifully simple, direct, timeless poems. Take A Short Testament, for instance. Published in 2006, it has the power to transform as much today as it did a decade ago. What better way to end a year marked by media bombardment of suffering than to share a poem of promise and hope, words to remind us all to be more thoughtful in how to treat others.
A Short Testament
by Anne Porter
Whatever harm I may have done
In all my life in all your wide creation
If I cannot repair it
I beg you to repair it,
And then there are all the wounded
The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
Whom I have roughly dismissed
As if I were not one of them.
Where I have wronged them by it
And cannot make amends
I ask you
To comfort them to overflowing,
And where there are lives I may have withered around me,
Or lives of strangers far or near
That I’ve destroyed in blind complicity,
And if I cannot find them
Or have no way to serve them,
Remember them. I beg you to remember them
When winter is over
And all your unimaginable promises
Burst into song on death’s bare branches.
Words have the power to change–change the way we treat others and the manner in which we go about our day-to-day business.
Let’s do better in 2016.
Happy New Year.