Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grace –– like a scalpel

Okay, I'm going to say something that's totally unrelated to New York/farming/crappy food, so brace yourself: I love Anna Kamienska. I love her so much, I can't really explain it. And it's mostly unfounded, because all I've read by her are her Notebooks (trans.: Clare Cavanagh) from two separate issues of Poetry, probably less than 30 pages total. I don't even know that much about her, besides that she was Polish, taught in underground schools during the Nazi occupation, studied classical philology, appears to have taught herself Hebrew, and converted to Catholicism. 

This is a picture of her:

And she writes some of the most beautiful things, like this:

"To suffer. It means God is near. Grace –– like a scalpel without anaesthesia."

And this:

"God is the present tense. That's why it's so hard to seize the moment. God is the eternal now. We either chase the past or escape into the future, place our whole hope in the future. Whereas faith, hope, and love must ripen in the present. That's why we ignore time, waste it, kill it. We're killing God."

And this:

"Mrs. M. says, 'Right here, sitting at this table, I pitted thirteen pounds of gooseberries. Only to find out I didn't have to. But I told myself: you survived the uprising, you were wounded, you'll get through this too."

And it goes on and on like that. Her Notebooks almost feel like Pascal's Pensees, only with less effort and more elegance. Can someone with a little extra time and a background in Polish please translate everything she's ever written and then write a biography of her? Please?

1 comment:

  1. Had to mail that one out about Suffering.
    I had to do that once in a dentist's chair..
    (talk about God in the present tense!)