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Mademoiselle Comet

by Laura Riding Jackson

We, then, having complete power, removed all the amusements that did not amuse us. We were then at least not hopelessly amused. We inculcated in ourselves an amusability not qualified by standards developed from amusements that failed to amuse. Our standards, that is, were impossibly high.

And yet we were not hopeless. We were ascetically humourous, in fact. And so when Mademoiselle Comet came among us we were somewhat at a loss. For Mademoiselle Comet was a really professional entertainer. She came from where she came to make us look.

But Mademoiselle Comet was different. We could not help looking. But she more than amused. She was a perfect oddity. The fact that she was entertaining had no psychological connection with the fact that we were watching her. She was creature of pure pleasure. She was a phenomenon whose humorous slant did not sympathetically attack us; being a slant of independence, not comedy. Her long bright hair was dead. She could not be loved.

Therefore Mademoiselle Comet became our sole entertainment. And she more than amused; we loved her. Having complete power, we placed her in a leading position, where we could observe her better. And we were not amused. We were still ascetically humourous. Thus we aged properly. We did not, like mirth-stricken children, die. Rather we could not remember that we had ever been alive. We too had long bright dead hair. Mademoiselle Comet performed, and we looked, always a last time. We too performed, became really professional entertainers. Our ascetically humourous slant became more and more a slant of independence, less and less a slant of rejected comedy. With Mademoiselle Comet we became a troupe, creatures of pure pleasure, more than amused, more than amusing, looker-entertainers, Mademoiselle Comet's train of cold light. We were the phenomenal word fun, Mademoiselle Comet leading. Fun was our visible property. We appeared, a comet and its tail, with deadly powerfulness to ourselves. We collided. We swallowed and were swallowed, more than amused. Mademoiselle Comet, because of the position we had put her in with our complete power, alone survived. Her long bright dead hair covered her. Our long bright dead hair covered us. Her long bright dead hair alone survived; universe of pure pleasure, never tangled, never combed. She could not be loved. We loved her. Our long bright hair alone survived. We alone survived, having complete power. Our standards, that is, were impossibly high; and the brilliant Mademoiselle Comet, a professional entertainer, satisfied them. Our standards alone survived, being impossibly high.

Laura (Riding) Jackson

The Person I Am
A Mannered Grace
The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language
Anarchism Is Not Enough
Essays from Epilogue
First Awakenings
Four Unposted Letters To Catherine
Progress of Stories
Rational Meaning
The Laura (Riding) Jackson Reader
The Poems of Laura Riding
A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding
The Telling
The Word Woman
Under The Mind's Watch
Sample Letters of Laura (Riding) Jackson
Web Page updated September 2017



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