Posted in Life, poetry, Random Thoughts

To Rest, Free

Weekends are precious. At times it is so because one tries to squeeze in the dues from the week before or catch up with family and friends who have been neglected for a while, or to catch up with own personal stuff. Though at times, weekends are more precious because it’s one of the days when one tries to simply do nothing. To a point, my husband and I try to fit the weekend in the last category. With the children kept busy till lunch; the post lunch session includes an hour or two of their favourite cartoons or movie, while as adults we resolve to just lie in the yard, free of any thoughts or plans.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” John Lubbock

Trying to stay “thought free” for a hour or half every weekend does wonders for the soul. To contemplate or think about nothing, while one is still alert is an art in itself. While an idle mind mayn’t be a bad workshop, to be free of thoughts for a while is on a totally different plane. Each of us have plenty of inner worries that often tend to surface when the hands stay still and the mind wanders. To still that wandering mind of worries takes effort and plenty of faith laced with hope.

“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.” May Sarton

To rest and feel free is a wonderful gift to experience. To relax doesn’t require one to be kept busy or watch plenty of visuals. One of the best ways to de-stress would be just to lie in the hammock and watch the sunset or to close the eyes and feel the smell of dewy grass. All these provide rest for the psyche. Still those wandering unbidden thoughts and instead, just do nothing but lie still. Those moments of stillness are quite enough to rejuvenate one for the never ending chaos and cares of the current times.

The House of Rest

I will build a house of rest,
Square the corners every one:
At each angle on his breast
Shall a cherub take the sun;
Rising, risen, sinking, down,
Weaving day’s unequal crown.

In the chambers, light as air,
Shall responsive footsteps fall:
Brother, sister, art thou there?
Hush! we need not jar nor call;
Need not turn to seek the face
Shut in rapture’s hiding-place.

Heavy load and mocking care
Shall from back and bosom part;
Thought shall reach the thrill of prayer,
Patience plan the dome of art.
None shall praise or merit claim,
Not a joy be called by name.

With a free, unmeasured tread
Shall we pace the cloisters through:
Rest, enfranchised, like the Dead;
Rest till Love be born anew.
Weary Thought shall take his time,
Free of task-work, loosed from rhyme.

No reproof shall grieve or chill;
Every sin doth stand confest;
None need murmur, ‘This was ill’:
Therefore do they grant us rest;
Contemplation making whole
Every ruin of the soul.

Pictures shall as softly look
As in distance shows delight;
Slowly shall each saintly book
Turn its pages in our sight;
Not the study’s wealth confuse,
Urging zeal to pale abuse.

Children through the windows peep,
Not reproachful, though our own;
Hushed the parent passion deep,
And the household’s eager tone.
One above, divine and true,
Makes us children like to you.

Measured bread shall build us up
At the hospitable board;
In Contentment’s golden cup
Is the guileless liquor poured.
May the beggar pledge the king
In that spirit gathering,

Oh! my house is far away;
Yet it sometimes shuts me in.
Imperfection mars each day
While the perfect works begin.
In the house of labor best
Can I build the house of rest.
-Julia Ward Howe

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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