And Yet We Call this Friday Good

It is silent this morning and the sun is shining, silent, that is, but for the birds.

All the birds are singing.

The rooks are nesting in the tall trees opposite. Before the leaves come I can watch them from an upstairs window.

I can hear the insistent, plaintive crying of the young.

All the flowers in my garden today are the flowers that decked a country church a year ago, when we said goodbye to my sister, Polly.

On Good Fridays I always seem to think of the phrase I used for this post. It comes from the poet T.S Eliot, from the poem called “East Coker” in his Four Quartets.

“And yet we call this Friday good….” What does it mean now?

I was once mesmerised by the section starting  “The wounded surgeon plies the steel…”, by the concentration and energy of the language.

But now I think it is just about superstition.

“The hospital endowed by a ruined millionaire” feels like a caustic epithet for an overstretched  welfare state.

There is no “absolute paternal care”. The “wounded surgeon” and the “dying nurse” can only give us comfort and hope to get some when their turn comes.

But the words still have the grandeur of an old cathedral, a great spired cathedral where men died on high scaffolds. Yet it is an incomprehensible grandeur now, like that of the Easter Island Heads or the Mayan ruins.

Eliot also said “old men should be explorers”.

On such a calm day, an early spring day of sunshine and flowers, and in such a fortunate place, explorers must have left, having made their plans.

And returned, grateful to be back from hot, sun-dried plains.

We are a swarm. Evelyn was right. Some of the swarm travel far away in search of new nests.

But when summer ends, they all litter the floor of my summer house, dead in their season.

Talk to Me

Your email address will not be published.