Thursday, June 7, 2012

A NEST OF QUIET: POLISH POET ANNA KAMIEŃSKA

ANNA KAMIEŃSKA
(1920-1986)
A reader currently living in Sri Lanka recently sent a piece from the Poetry Foundation, called "A Nest of Quiet," by the Polish poet Anna Kamieńska.

Here are a few excerpts.

On the road to Lublin an “animal slaughterhouse”—repulsive words. Some person leads a cow to the slaughterhouse. The cow bows its head low. It knows. It holds a deeply human sorrow. We’ll remain barbarians as long as we feed on the flesh of animals.

You shall not kill—the commandment should be understood inclusively—you shall not kill!
A parliament of storks just past Garwolin. A field full of storks.

Sorrow—that’s the noblest thing linking us to animals. The sorrow of existence.



Granddad says he makes the sign of the cross over all his beloved photographs: Mura (my mother), my father, J. He’s saying goodbye. He thinks about the accountant Mizeracki, who died suddenly, a motorcycle accident, he thinks about those who have wronged him. Then he starts thinking about those he’s wronged, who should forgive him. He met an old lady who had trouble walking. He took her arm and they circled the garden twice. And he realized that he never used to think about helping people, he’d seen people walk slowly so many times.

The night hours pass, and he takes stock of his life. He swallows another sleeping pill. He falls asleep at one, wakes up at four. He performs his morning rituals. He doesn’t throw out the wilted flowers, because I brought them. I’ll probably do the same. Here at the home, there’s a father whose daughter comes to see him. She takes him for a walk, her face radiates joy...Love is when you don’t have anyone so you can be good to everyone....



Splendid occupations: making jam, sewing, darning. Darning holes in nothingness, scrubbing up the abyss, stitching painful opposites together.

Women do this humming.


MY LATEST CREATION: A SHROUD
Read the whole piece here.

THANK YOU, MORGAN!

10 comments:

  1. "Smile through a face petrified with grief. Smile at least to the Lord God."

    Beautiful.

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  2. "Smile through a face petrified with grief. Smile at least to the Lord God."

    Beautiful.

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  3. "I received the grace of shadows. The grace of remaining in the dark."

    -- If that doesn't describe my life...

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  4. Thank you for sharing this gift. I would never have heard of her otherwise and I am reeling from her words. Raw beauty and grace. I've printed out the notebook (40 pages!) and am huddling over it greedily.
    Have a lovely weekend.

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  5. A short but obviously fully creative life.

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  6. You are most welcome, Heather. I had a feeling that you would respond to Kamienska, ... and it is an honor, of course, to have been able to contribute a little something to Shirt.

    warmly,
    morgan

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  7. Oh my gosh, thank you for posting this link, and for your reader for submitting it. And thank you for blogging like this. Such wonderful reads!

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  8. Isn't Anna crazy good? My Shirt of Flame publishers at Paraclete have published some of her poems, it turns out, and are gonna send me a copy! I love her fierce gaze, too...

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  9. the only problem is I'm sure Jesus would have eaten meat and fish n chips ! So eating meat is not so sorrowful.Even a lovely lamb tastes beautiful (pasch supper)

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  10. The animal is the other in its agony.

    - Hegel

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