“Those Who Carry” by Anna Kamieńska

van Gogh, Vincent_Women Carrying Sacks of Coal in the Snow
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890), Women Carrying Sacks of Coal in the Snow, 1882. Chalk, brush in ink, and opaque and transparent watercolor on wove paper, 32.1 × 50.1 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

Those who carry grand pianos
to the tenth floor   wardrobes and coffins
the old man with a bundle of wood hobbling toward the horizon
the lady with a hump of nettles
the madwoman pushing her baby carriage
full of empty vodka bottles
they all will be raised up
like a seagull’s feather   like a dry leaf
like an eggshell   a scrap of newspaper on the street

Blessed are those who carry
for they will be raised

This poem was originally published in Polish in Anna Kamieńska’s 1984 collection Dwie ciemności (Two Darknesses), © Paweł Śpiewak. It is translated into English by Grażyna Drabik and David Curzon in Astonishments: Selected Poems of Anna Kamieńska (Paraclete Press, 2007). Used by permission of the publisher.

3 thoughts on ““Those Who Carry” by Anna Kamieńska

  1. Blessed are those who carry
    for they will be raised

    Pairing the poem with the painting adds so much depth. It expresses how I’m feeling tonight.
    It also reminds me of Pilgrims Progress and Christian’s burden. How did you end up pairing these two?


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