Dawn Potter

Rules for the Direction of the Maid: Dawn Potter

Never use multiplication
if there is opportunity for division.

Seek magnitudes,
each expressed in a different way.

Survey the difficulty under consideration
through a key-hole,
noting that certain of its kisses are known,

others unknown, and intuiting
the mutual dependence of each of its kisses
upon the others.

A bed is better managed with a brief tidying than with new linen,
for thus your memory cannot fail;

yet in the meantime you will not be distracted by trying to remember
if your master returns tonight or tomorrow night.

The affair should be understood as relating
to the actual extension of bodies and at the same time

be a diagram of the imagination, for thus
is it distinctly perceived by the players.

To understand adultery perfectly,
reduce it to its simplest form
and divide it into its smallest constituent parts.

Make use of every assistance
of the intellect: the imagination, the senses,
the memory. Correctly compare soiled cloaks

with soiled slippers, in order that the mud
may be recognized.
Omit no aspect of human deceit.

For the mind to become wise,

it must have practice
in discovering what others

have already found.

To distinguish your master’s
gifts from more complex ones,

you should observe, on every dressing-table,
which locket is the simplest of all, and how far

from it each of the others is removed,
either more or less,

or equally.

Stealth is necessary for conjecturing
the truths of nature.

Seek to determine, not
what others have scrubbed, but what stain

you may soberly intuit, or deduce
with irony.
In no other way is knowledge obtained.

Be at ease only
with those stockings regarding which

your mending seems capable of frayed
yet durable knowledge.

The speed of your broom should match
the dust of your corners.