Poetry Monday – ‘Living Things’

August 27, 2012 — 2 Comments

Since I always take some time on my ‘Sabbath’ Monday to soak in some great poetry, I thought I would share a poem each week for a while.  I call it “Poetry Monday.”

I discovered Anne Porter this summer.  This is the ‘title’ poem from her collected works called Living Things. She was 83 when she published her first book of poems! I’ll take the  liberty to add some comments at the end, noted by the (*) in the text.

Our poems
Are like the wart-hogs
In the zoo
It’s hard to say
Why there should be such creatures

But once our life gets into them
As sometimes happens
Our poems
Turn into living things *
And there’s no arguing
With living things
They are
The way they are

Our poems
May be rough
Or delicate
Or great

But always
They have inside them
A confluence of cries
And secret languages

And always
They are improvident **
And free
They keep
A kind of Sabbath
They play
On sooty fire escapes
And window ledges

They wander in and out
Of jails and gardens
They sparkle

In the deep mines
They sing
In breaking waves
And rock like wooden cradles. ***

* I can relate to how poems take on a life of their own and give voice to our heart – or to what God is doing in our hearts – like no other kind of expression. Sort of like the Psalms! Interesting how for Porter also, poems “keep a kind of sabbath!”

** “Improvident” – I had to look this word up – it means risky or done without much forethought.

*** Her last stanzas are cataloguing how poetry shows up everywhere, from coal mines to prisons to a baby’s lullaby.


2 responses to Poetry Monday – ‘Living Things’


    Lyle, thank you for sharing!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Poetry Monday – ‘Music’ « lyle mook - September 3, 2012

    […] this second installment of Poetry Monday, I’ll share another Anne Porter poem called Music.  Many times I’ve had people who […]

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