The poem I have placed on the bulletin board outside my church office this week is by the Polish poet, Anna Kamieńska, and is from her book of poetry, Astonishments : Selected Poems of Anna Kamieńska, edited and translated by Grażyna Drabik and David Curzon, and published by Paraclete Press. Here it is:
Gratitude | Anna Kamieńska
A tempest threw a rainbow in my face so that I wanted to fall under the rain to kiss the hands of an old woman to whom I gave my seat to thank everyone for the fact that they exist and at times even feel like smiling I was grateful to young leaves that they were willing to open up to the sun to babies that they still felt like coming into this world to the old that they heroically endure until the end I was full of thanks like a Sunday alms-box I would have embraced death if she’d stopped nearby Gratitude is a scattered homeless love
I love the last line of this poem. It describes so wonderfully the difference between being thankful and being filled with gratitude. I am thankful for many things, my faith, my family, the beautiful weather we have been enjoying these last several days. But gratitude is more – it is this “scattered homeless love” that lies under the surface of my thankfulness. It is the root which nourishes my thankfulness in every season. Even when life is not going well, gratitude digs in and refuses to wither. Gratitude is the root that embraces all of life as a gift and helps me to be thankful, come what may. Gratitude looks at life as this simple, miraculous gift: we exist, “and at times even feel like smiling.” Yes. Amen.