Monday, May 2, 2016

Simone Weil 10

To love a stranger as oneself implies the reverse: to love oneself as a stranger. One day she wondered who looked back at her from the bathroom mirror. The fragile yarn of knowing, how it enters the cat's mouth. She sits inside the window at once behind and before me, doubly framed. Now wanders into the kitchen to eat. To be abject is to consume oneself. But to lose yourself in the mirror is stranger yet. In photos of herself, my mother saw only her mother. We own what we use, but when usefulness drops like a shift to the carpet, we exit our chrysalis scathed. “It was as if, without even trying, she'd become a Buddhist.” There's no irony in the newspaper, only revision, where to re-consider seems more crucial than consideration. Compassion knows no drafts.


Karen Skolfield said...

Wow, I love the borrowed line, the "fragile yarn of knowing," "In photos of herself, my mother saw only her mother," and more. I'm having a harder time making the carpet/chrysalis sentence work. "Compassion knows no drafts" - I have to sit with this line for a bit. Is it true? Is compassion always without premeditation and revision?

susan said...

Looks like I can write here on my computer in the office. As for your question, my sense (with Weil et al) is that compassion is best when unpremeditated or "revised." Part of this comment comes out of a discussion about revision at our book festival. But also out of the notion of "grace" as accident. Thanks for reading--