Tag Archives: poetry

Under her Piano

“Music” by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Steerforth Press, 2006.
 
When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold
 
And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying
 
Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country
 
I’ve never understood
Why this is so
 
But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow
 
For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest
 
And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country
 
We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams
 
And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows
 
Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.
 
(Photo is my grandmother at the piano, with my mother and grandfather singing a duet.)Winifred, Percy, Maxine singing
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