Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Noël by Anne Porter

Today, I found this lovely poem by Anne Porter. It's from a collection of hers that came out in 2006, a collection of poems that incorporates her earlier work (a National Book Award nominee) plus additional work. Although Porter is known for her religious Christian poems, I think this one makes sense regardless of one's particular religion (unless, perhaps, one is atheist and opposed to any mention of God).

The poem is only seven stanzas of free verse, and addresses the singing of carols at this time of year. I've excerpted the middle three stanzas of the poem here, providing, in essence, the "turn" in the particular poem. Those of you with a few minutes to spare may want to check out the full poem at The Academy of American Poets website.

We hear and sing
The customary carols

They bring us ragged miracles
And hay and candles
And flowering weeds of poetry
That are loved all the more
Because they are so common

But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
As a prophet's message

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