by Kate Suffling | Published in Geez Winter 2022 Issue
May you take full and gulping the
deepest breath you’ve ever drawn
And hold it in your belly, full,
a stretch that slows the heart and mind,
Slackens fibres now recalling
How to loosen, how to lessen,
how there’s nourishment in surrender.
Begin the softening, slump and slumber,
slow the spinning, the wanting, the needs
Except for this one, the one called rest.
She has stood outside at the door,
Not banished, but told to wait
With “Until I . . . ”, and “until it . . . ”,
until she turned to slumber.
May you wake her now, draw her in,
lead her by the hand.
She’s surprised and exultant,
but moving sweet and slow.
May you find in her a stillness
that does not produce,
Won’t move you onward, inch you forward,
Drive you upward in your climb,
And will stir a sickly fear, at first,
Just at the thought
Of these moments that pass
like sand through your fingers,
Only to leave you in the very same place.
To hold them in silence, in leaking cupped hands
Becomes a declaration, frail at first, but sound,
That you are worthy in this moment,
Of this extravagance called being.
May you learn that rest’s teachings
are a slow and fragile harvest
that bruises when plucked
or shaken from the tree,
Best gathered by letting the fruit fall
Into waiting upward palms.
Be covered in its sticky juice, shamelessly idle,
Sitting still on the porch
or the park bench or the hammock.
Be stubborn in your contentment and
your peace amidst the frenzy.
Make your stillness a thorn
in the side of collective haste.
Let this respite be your ambassadorship,
from the lost kingdom of being.
May it confuse and confound,
Stir in others a buried thirst.
When you’ve rested yourself full,
may you find you’ve had enough,
Fruit soaked and stillness saturated re-enter the toil.
The palms of your soul softly open facing upward,
Ripened fruit in hand.
Continue to eat, be filled but be ravenous
With the yearning that rest be a table wide and full.
Carry its banquet to the dismal unmarked corners,
Where peace is a hoarded fruit held out of reach.
Bruise your hands in the razing of old stone walls
To spread fine tablecloths upon the scattered rubble
And make rest a sacred sweetness
at the fingertips for all.
Kate Suffling (she/her) is an occupational therapist practicing counselling in Kitchener, Ontario. She cherishes the sacred act of hearing the stories of others. She otherwise spends her time mothering, gardening, reading, and being outdoors as much as possible.