“Only now and then the lines attack like birds of prey, any time, any place. And demand to be written.” ~ Anna Kamienska, from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”

“Le Viol Detail la Domestique” (1869)
Edgar Degas

Trying to get the shower invitations done, and it is not going well. Offering up someone else who does it much better than I . . .

Selections from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”
Storks, study, and solitude in a fading life.

Anna Kamienska

I now exist on the principle of shortsightedness, which demands enhanced attention to the moment. Late wisdom, but close to the wisdom of childhood. A lovely summer day. Color, taste, scent. A squirrel. Cherries. Good tiredness. Cauliflower for supper. Clean house. And always darkness, darkness that spreads around all of it. Everything submerged in awful darkness.

*****

The inscription rings with a poetry much older than its date.

*****

I escape into sleep. Sleep is what I’ll miss most when I die.

*****

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.

*****

The sun came out today. But I still ache all over. It made me think of Waclaw Gralewski’s theory: every tumble, bruise, broken leg or arm is the price for disrupting some hidden order. Instant punishment.

*****

I have no talent. I’m not talking about the literary marketplace: I mean how I see myself. I write poems for myself, like these notebooks, to think things through, that’s all.

*****

The soul has two distinct layers. One is the “I”—capricious, fickle, uncertain, it hops from joy to despair. The other, the “soul,” is steady, sure, unwavering, watchful, ready, aware.

*****

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

*****

In the human world everything is mixed. No pure states. Even death is life in some sense. Archaeology—eschatology?

*****

I walk around disguised as an overweight old lady.

*****

Deafness has seized even my dreams. They’re voiceless, like silent movies. Or when the machine breaks in the theater and the audience suddenly starts stomping.

*****

We recognize things, as in poetry, through resemblances. Through metaphors. This way we gather them into wider systems so that they don’t dangle alone.

*****

Never. Never. Never. I could fill a whole notebook with that word.

*****

I returned
to confirm
there can be no return.

*****

To hide from old age. To crawl into a crack in the floor.

*****

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

*****

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t have a face. Just a mask of pain. I wanted to be more than a mother, I wanted to be a friend. But the director calls us to order. You don’t get to pick the role.

*****

During the sleepless hours of the night a thought came to me that seemed important. I got up in the dark and wrote it down. In the morning I read: “I went looking for loneliness. But it found me.”

*****

Letters of the condemned. Last words scratched on a cell’s wall. To write like that.

*****

Niobe. Niobe—that’s me. That’s every abandoned mother.

*****

This morning I suddenly catch myself: I’m not there, I’m so lost in thought, I don’t know what’s going on around me. Can you think yourself to death?

*****

Where your pain is, there your heart lies also.

 

Advertisements

One thought on ““Only now and then the lines attack like birds of prey, any time, any place. And demand to be written.” ~ Anna Kamienska, from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”

  1. May I simply say what a comfort to find someone that genuinely understands what they are talking about on the
    web. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    A lot more people should look at this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you aren’t more popular since you surely possess
    the gift.

Thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s