Reading: A prayer that will be answered by Anna Kamieńska

Anna Kamieńska (1920-1986) was a Polish poet, literary critic, translator and children’s book author. I read a short elegy by her hand, in a translation by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanaugh

A prayer that will be answered
Lord let me suffer much
and then die

Let me walk through silence
and leave nothing behind not even fear

Make the world continue
let the ocean kiss the sand just as before

Let the grass stay green
so that the frogs can hide in it

so that someone can bury his face in it
and sob out his love

Make the day rise brightly
as if there were no more pain

And let my poem stand clear as a windowpane
bumped by a bumblebee’s head

Refreshing gallows humor. The harrowing opening lines must have been jotted down with a mischievous smile. From there, she builds up her hopes: Not even fear is left behind, the world continues to be a safe and meaningful place for animals and lovers, and the Lord keeps pretending there were no more pain. It all has come true, Anna, 30 years after your passing.

And your poem? Well, it stands clear on computer screens and your readers are bumping their little busy heads against it. You see?

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