‘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. 
  

This poem from Poetry and Poetics ed Joan Dargan, Simone Weil; Thinking Poetically SUNY, 1999 was first published on Poethead on March 8th 2008 to celebrate International Women’s Day and is republished here to mark the nearing end of Weil’s Centenary year.

I will look at the images in notes attached to comments but just want it read by those inclined to poetics. There is a 180 degree turn from Verse 1 to Verse 3 (line 3, V3.3) . I will look at it in relation to a poem by Paul Celan in notes.

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