The Need for Roots

By Martha Serpas on 4.24.09

Prayer, writes Simone Weil, is absolute unmixed attention. So is poetry. Paradoxical. Present tense. My poetry has also been influenced by Weil’s concept of decreation, “undoing the creature in us.” Rather than use the landscape as a metaphor for the self, I have applied her concept concerning human transcendence to the land. The destruction of Louisiana’s wetlands and the loss of Cajun culture embody theological longing: Tragic destruction is required for new creation.

Photo by Paul L. Nettles on Flickr

The dissolution of the land corresponds to the dismantling of the self, which, for Weil, is a necessary suffering to achieve union with the Divine. I try to conjure my home’s sounds and colors in the immediacy they still hold for me, a present-tense paradox of abundance and loss existing in the same time and space, not a representation of a part of the temporal world, but a transformed reality.

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