Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Anna Kamieńska

I wasn't sure what to do for Wellness Wednesday this week because I'm recovering from a virus and I'm a bit tired. Then I discovered that I had already drafted this post. Thanks, past-Tabatha!

Writer, poet, translator, and literary critic Anna Kamieńska was born in 1920 in Krasnystaw, Poland. During the Nazi occupation during World War II, she taught in underground village schools. I tried to figure out what years she wrote the notebooks "A Nest of Quiet" and "In That Great River," but I didn't see them listed anywhere. She died in 1986 and her husband died at the end of 1967, so between those two dates.

Darning by Mandy Prowse

Anna Kamieńska
A Nest of Quiet : A Notebook

I’ve learned to value failed conversations, missed connections, confusions. What remains is what’s unsaid, what’s underneath. Understanding on another level of being.

I walk around disguised as an overweight old lady.

When I was little, I was always shocked when people said I was an orphan. Now I’m surprised when they call me a widow. He didn’t die, he grew so high alongside me that I can’t reach him.

I remembered the searchlights that the bombers used to illuminate the earth and people’s hearts—as targets. It wasn’t light. It was bright darkness. Bright darkness—in me. Bright darkness of death. Bright darkness of loneliness.

Misfortune, personal disaster stops our inner time short. Objective time moves on—but we spin in place like straws in water.

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

In That Great River: A Notebook

Akhmatova. A thick volume of her collected poems, as if they were written by one person. But after all there were so many—from youth to old age.

Music teaches us the passing of time. It teaches the value of a moment by giving that moment value. And it passes. It’s not afraid to go.

The sense of loneliness is an error. We are and move in a great crowd of those who are now, were, and will be.
In that great river.

Collecting pebbles for a new mosaic of a world that I could love.

So a little spring prays to the ocean, so the beating heart prays to the heart of the universe, so the little word prays to the great Logos, so a dust speck prays to the earth, so the earth prays to the cosmos, so the one prays to the billion, so human love prays to God’s love, so always prays to never, so the moment prays to eternity, so the snowflake prays to winter, so the frightened beast prays to the forest silence, so uncertainty prays to beauty itself.
And all these prayers are heard.


American Scholar encouraged people to write poems using Anna's lines as springboards -- I love Patricia Wallace's in particular.


Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Much to ponder here! I have a feeling I could swim in those notebooks a good long time. Feel better soon, T!

Cheriee Weichel said...

Thank you so much for this introduction to a remarkable woman and poet!

Ruth said...

Love! Thanks for linking me. My favorite part: "Darning holes in nothingness, scrubbing up the abyss, stitching painful opposites together."

Scrubbing up the abyss! How perfect is that?