Sunday Morning

Except for Aunt Maria. Unlike her father, my grandfather, she belonged not among the Enlightenment’s disciples, but with the deeply religious, the deeply silent. I know she read serious works on theology, I would guess that she knew how to pray (an ability far rarer than it seems), but she was a quiet person, like all in my family…Aunt Maria’s silence, it seems to me, grew from her religion—I sensed her conviction that things linked to faith must be left unexpressed, that they’re lost when spoken, they become banalities. I admired her for being different, for the deep devotion that she wouldn’t, couldn’t share with us—she was the opposite of those pious hypocrites who place their religious fervor on public display…Maria kept silent for different reasons. Perhaps those who pray truly and deeply inevitably watch their words around others.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)

Notes: Image – Farm Hands, via Mennyfox55


  1. I can’t explain it, but his writing about her seemed steeped somehow in prayer itself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes. And I would expand, all of his writing seems steeped in prayer.

      We really needed to sustain the infinity contained in existing religions, to nurture it, just in case, like the embers of a bonfire, stirring it, kindling it, in hopes of raising a greater flame.

      ~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)

      We didn’t stay long—just long enough to give me that piercing shiver of mystery I’d experienced on earlier visits to the city. And once again it was June—mild, long, slowly fading evenings, evenings promising so much that no matter what you do with them, you always receive the impression of defeat, of wasted time. Nobody knows the best way to get through them. March straight ahead or maybe sit at home before a wide-open window so that the warm air, saturated in the sounds of summer, may permeate the room and mingle with books, ideas, metaphors, with our breath. No, but that’s not right either, it’s not possible. You can only mourn them, those unending evenings, mourn them when they pass, as the days grow shorter. They can’t be seized. Perhaps these long June evenings can only be perceived by way of regret, remembrance, nostalgia. They can’t be plumbed: you’d need to head for the park, one foot in front of the other, while sitting simultaneously on the terrace and listening to the voices of the city fall still as the last blackbirds sing … But that won’t do either. Birdsong has no form, no adagio, no allegro. In a detailed study of music, a certain philosopher once observed that “nightingales don’t listen to other nightingales sing,” only somewhat exalted people do.

      ~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)

      Liked by 2 people

    • “How do we keep on living after the deaths of our close friends? But somehow we get by. Our substance must consist partly of indifference, of gray, unfeeling metal, since we manage, even fairly well, after our friends, our close, our closest friends have gone. We laugh, we go to good restaurants, we read the new books that they will never know. The first moment of grief, when we’ve just learned that someone close has died, is terrible. It’s not even grief, it’s pain and protest in pure form; the word grief already contains an element of resignation, of making peace with what has taken place. But in that first moment there are no words, no acceptance, no resignation. It’s as if a hole had been torn in existence. The earthquake reveals an abyss. A moment of tears and rage, and Logos can do nothing here. Logos steps aside discreetly. Then the rift gradually closes, and the drawn-out process of mourning begins, we slowly start crossing the footpath over the ravine, and with time the scar takes on the color of healthy skin.”

      ~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)

      Liked by 6 people

  2. good article

    Liked by 1 person

  3. what a lovely character study, one that goes to the inner core

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So. Thank you, David. You share the best things. And now I’ve yet another author To read!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Beautiful. ♡
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Being a child of words, it’s unlikely I would ever be as silent an observer as my husband. And others I greatly admire for that very trait.

    Liked by 1 person

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