Valediction for May

Hush. The dawn is breaking on the hills.
The air is chill. My love is calling:
Awake. Arise. Come with me. Time to go.
It is time to go, and you must leave
with the daisies closed against the dew,
with the young green shoots piercing the earth,
the pigeons burbling and blackbird’s song,
and the candles on the chestnut trees
to light you on your way.

You dug the ground; you sowed the seed,
watered the shoot, and saw
the growth all but imperceptible:
a bud, a leaf – furled – opening – open –
Come away.
Leave the fruit. It is not yours to pick.

Follow me now beyond the garden.
Come and see.
I have a lovely place to show you.
Though here the flowers bloom and fruit trees
scatter blossom,
walk this path with me:
come away.

April Moon: Day 14

Yes, I know it’s May. Shh.


What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?

Having spent Lent getting my head around Paul, comfort is throwing me into John and the farewell discourses. Tallis, of course: if ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will give you another comforter, that he may bide with you for ever; even the sprit of truth. Comforter is the word that is translated elsewhere as advocate. And I remember being told that comfort in this sense is more like encourage.

And, thinking about that, I begin to see comfort as a spectrum. There is, of course, the duvet-and-blanket, warm-heavy-cat-on-the-knee comfort: an encouragement to relax, to sleep, to let go of things. Then, in Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo has killed Tybalt and Juliet has no idea what to do next, she asks for some comfort, Nurse. And then the dancing, flaming wind of the Spirit, distinctly uncomfortable, you would think. And yet.

Comfort is the thing that pushes or pulls me towards whatever it is I need to do next. Very often resting is exactly what I need to do next. I remember last year, when circumstances had me staying nearly a month with my housemates’ parents, and how warm and comfortable and supporting was that spare bed of theirs, and how white the sheets, and how that month of being looked after was exactly what I needed then.

And what I need now? Well, my bedroom is dusted and vacuumed. My possessions are piled on the bed, waiting for a rucksack to put them in. I move on tomorrow, and it is time and past time. Comfort is only comfort for so long; one’s foot goes to sleep after a while.