Sunday, May 29, 2022

"What are you going through?" and "Quel est ton tourment?" in Adrienne Rich and Simone Weil

This morning, I read Adrienne Rich's poem "For a Friend in Travail" and was struck by her note for the phrase "what are you going through", which appears twice in the poem. It comes from Emma Crauford's translation of Simone Weil's "Attente de Dieu": "The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, 'What are you going through?'" I found Weil's original French (which took quite a while): "La plénitude de l'amour du prochain, c'est simplement d'être capable de lui demander: 'Quel est ton tourment?'" I can imagine asking someone what they're "going through", but would you ask someone what their "torment" is? (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 May 2022)


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