An Altogether Different Language

By Anne Porter 1911–2011 Anne Porter
There was a church in Umbria, Little Portion,
Already old eight hundred years ago.
It was abandoned and in disrepair
But it was called St. Mary of the Angels
For it was known to be the haunt of angels,
Often at night the country people
Could hear them singing there.

What was it like, to listen to the angels,
To hear those mountain-fresh, those simple voices
Poured out on the bare stones of Little Portion
In hymns of joy?
No one has told us.
Perhaps it needs another language
That we have still to learn,
An altogether different language.

An excerpt from Living Things, by Anne Porter, published by Zoland Books, an imprint of Steerforth Press of Hanover, New Hampshire. Copyright © 2006 Anne Porter.

Source: Living Things (Zoland Books, 2006)

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Poet Anne Porter 1911–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Religion, Living, Time & Brevity, Christianity

Poetic Terms Epigram, Free Verse

 Anne  Porter


Born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, poet Anne Porter was educated at Bryn Mawr College and Radcliffe College. Married to the painter Fairfield Porter, she raised five children in a busy, artistic household, frequently forced to pursue writing on the side. When her 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 . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Living, Time & Brevity, Christianity

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Epigram, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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