Went along to a Geoffrey Hill poetry reading the other day. I noticed he pronounced Simone Weil’s surname ‘vie’ (to rhyme with ‘by’). I remember having it on the authority of someone who had met her brother that it was ‘way’ (with due allowance for French vowels). Wikipedia says ‘vay’. Is it Weil that Gillian Rose (subject of a recent Hill poem) cites at the end of Love’s Work: ‘l’amour se révèle en se retirant’? (The line is disastrously mangled in my edition as ‘en se retirer’.)
Anyway, love, Weil on love. Love shows itself in withdrawing. Love is powerless: ‘Prendre puissance sur, c’est souiller, posséder, c’est souiller (…) L’amour n’exerce ni ne subit la force; c’est là l’unique pureté.’
Love is abdication. God renounces being, shows his love for the world by withdrawing from it, and in return we must love him through renunciation and ‘decreation.’
‘Dieu a créé par amour, pour l’amour. Dieu n’a pas créé autre chose que l’amour même, et les moyens de l’amour.’
Love is an empty plenitude. I love you and walk away. I love you and never say so. I love you and we have never met.
Marina Tsvetaeva, who was hardly a model of connubial fidelity, wrote to her husband shortly before their disastrous return to Stalin’s
The last words of Kafka’s Trial, ‘like a dog’.