Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 8

Here on Earth
by Anne Porter

The old man living
In his rented room
Grows lonely as the night comes on
Especially in winter

And the boy shooting drugs
On the tenement roof
Is lonely whether or not
He has companions

Lovers lie sleeping
Side by side
A wilderness between them

And their unborn infant
Is already alone
So soon to be discarded
Even as he begins
Unfolding in the womb
Of his lonely mother

Because the scatterer
Has overtaken us
Betraying promises
Estranging lovers

Tearing us inwardly
And tearing us apart
One from another

And this is why
Those of us who are sated
Find it so easy to ignore
Those of us who are starving

And why we have been known
To torture one another
Why there are times
When we are far more cruel
Than the animals.

Taken all together
Or taken one by one
We are the holiest
Of all earth’s creatures

For he who kindled
The fire of the sun
He who draws out the tender leaves
From the dark twigs of winter

He who has whittled
A cabin for the snail
Has also carved our names
In the palm of his hand

And he became a child
The better to be near us
Born in the wintertime
Born on a journey

He grew to be a man
And lived among us
To be our healing
When we were sick
Our bread
When we were hungry
To be the wine
At all our weddings

He suffered at our hands
And he forgave us
He sweat from head to foot
With human anguish
And shedding every drop of blood
To give us each other

He gave himself to us
That we might live forever

He gave us even more
Than he has given the angels.


Charlie Lowell said...

Okay... i know i have a lot of Anne Porter on here. She has a bunch of incredible Advent poems in her Living Things anthology. I don't think she's very well know, so i'm happy to keep force-feeding her to you. :) Thanks for continuing to pop in and take the time to sit in these poems. It's been a gift to me.

Nancy said...

I LOVE this one, Charlie. Thanks for the introduction.

irden juca said...

Gosh that's strong! Great poem Charlie, she is great, all of her poems so far are wonderful, I am glad you are picking the best ones so we can read them =] Mom will love this one, I'll send it to her tomorrow in our mother language.

tp lowe said...

Thanks for featuring Anne Porter - one of my favorites!

Loren Eaton said...

... the scatterer ...

Great imagery for Satan.

Carolyn said...

Just the message I needed after coming in from a cold morning walk. I had walked with a friend and spent about half the time complaining about politics and egos at my church. (Sigh.) Well, it didn't take long for the realization and guilt to set in. Yes, the scatterer had gotten hold of me again...
Thank you, Charlie. These poems are a blessing for me.

WendyCarb said...

Simply powerful...thanks for sharing : }

Anonymous said...


Ondrea Harrison said...

Wow, powerful! I'm going to have to re-read that one a time or two so that I can let it sink in. Thanks for doing this, I'm enjoying it!

And also thanks for being so kind with Jack and his project. You guys ROCK! :)

Sue said...

Loved this one, thank you.

Henry said...

Beautiful. Thank you.