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Anne Porter


Nobody in the hospital
Could tell the age
Of the old woman who
Was called Susanna

I knew she spoke some English
And that she was an immigrant
Out of a little country
Trampled by armies

Because she had no visitors
I would stop by to see her
But she was always sleeping

All I could do
Was to get out her comb
And carefully untangle
The tangles in her hair

One day I was beside her
When she woke up
Opening small dark eyes
Of a surprising clearness

She looked at me and said
You want to know the truth?
I answered Yes

She said it's something that
My mother told me

There's not a single inch
Of our whole body
That the Lord does not love

She then went back to sleep.

From Living Things, by Anne Porter, published by Zoland Books, an imprint of Steerforth Press of Hanover, New Hampshire.
Copyright 2006 Anne Porter.
Used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Doug Kuntz.

Anne Porter (1911 - 2011) was born in Massachusetts, attended Bryn Mawr and Radcliffe Colleges, and raised five children before she got serious about writing poetry, although she composed verses from the time she was seven. Her first book was published when Anne was 83, and it became a finalist for a National Book Award. Much of Anne's work is inspirational in tone, or colored by her experiences as a wife and mother. There is a wonderful interview with her here, written by Lucette Lagnado from the Wall Street Journal.


Post New Comment:
Beautiful, and yes, inspiring.
Posted 06/06/2014 11:14 AM
beautiful uplifting poem, perfect in its simplicity
Posted 06/06/2014 08:45 AM
Oh, what a beautiful message for a beautiful morning.
Posted 06/06/2014 05:39 AM
Clean as an arrow... Thank you for publishing this piece. Also wonderful to know life can begin at 83.
Posted 06/06/2014 12:09 AM

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