“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.

“A Short Testament” by Anne Porter from Living Things. © Zoland Books, 2006

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Interesting note (via PoetryFoundation.org):

When (Porter’s) husband died in 1975, she began to write poetry much more seriously. As she told the Wall Street Journal: “I remember realizing that I was alone, and I’d have to be more organized. I had these poems, and I thought that it would be worthwhile working on them. I started to write.” Her first collection, An Altogether Different Language (1994), published when she was 83, was named a finalist for the National Book Award.

#It’sNeverTooLate

“Five Wishes” by Anne Porter

I’d like to have a wild bird
Perch on my hand
A sparrow or
A chickadee
Sudden with her sharp feet
And fragile daring

I’d like to see again
The etchings Rembrandt made
Of stories from the Bible

Though they’re as plain
As Bethlehem’s hay
A radiance fills them

And I would like to visit
The Laguna Indians
And their old church
Made of whitewashed clay
With logs for rafters

And in it their Madonna
To whom they’ve given
A white lace apron

And I would like to learn
To accept my death
To accept our dying
That strange dawn

So deeply scandalous
That God himself wept
At the death of his friend

I’d like to find
The shrine of Chimayo
Where the lame leave crutches

I’d like to go there
With my daughter Katie

It would be enough
Just to be there
Without any miracle.
.
“Five Wishes” by Anne Porter from Living Things. © Zooland Books, 2006.