On Simone Weil’s ‘Thinking Poetically’

I have been reading the Simone Weil critique, Thinking Poetically for the last few weeks, interspersed it seems with other activities and work.

In many ways it has prevented me from posting up here because the subject matter is so imperative to the creation of her poetry; and yet and the Poet/Philosopher’s experiences in Vichy as a woman writer are neither subtle nor intriguing.

Her writing is sometimes painful to read. At the end of this brief post I shall include the link to Weil’s poem Necessity which I had published in recognition of the 2009 International Women’s Day.

‘Necessity’ by Simone Weil

The cycle of days in the deserted sky turning
In silence watched by mortal eyes
Gaping mouth here below, where each hour is burning
So many cruel and beseeching cries;

All the stars slow in the steps of their dance,
The only fixed dance, mute brilliance on high,
In spite of us formless, nameless, without cadence,
Too perfect, no fault to belie;

Toward them, suspended our anger is vain.
Quench our thirst if you must break our hearts.
Clamoring and desiring, their circle draws us in their train;
Our brilliant masters, were forever victors.

Tear flesh apart, chains of pure clarity.
Nailed without a cry to the fixed point of the North,
Naked soul exposed to all injury,
May we obey you unto death. 

(Simone Weil)

One of the themes of this site is ‘of waiting’, or to put it more succinctly: the writing of women who are entrapped (intellectually and spiritually) by the prisons their time has brought them to: many of them, Miriam Tuominen, Liliana Ursu, Nelly Sachs and Weil were writers that knew the shape of their prisons and created from them the most amazing poetic structures.

The other main theme is visibility of women critics and writers in our society. (Usually problematic).

There are strong sympathetic links in how prose is constructed between Porete and Weil, between Julian of Norwich and Weil and I suppose ‘heard ‘in the antiphons of Hildegard of Bingen.

I do not have time to elaborate on the themes, so I thought It would suffice to add in the Porete links and the link to Necessity and that I would complete this in second part with some brief notebook excerpts in the coming days.

Thinking Poetically Joan Dargan, State University of New York Press.1999

Necessity, by Simone Weil.
 Barbro Karlen
 Excerpts from Marguerite Porete.

One response to “On Simone Weil’s ‘Thinking Poetically’”

%d bloggers like this: