Comfort (verb): to ease grief or suffering; to console

Some losses take us unaware… no, that’s wrong. Surely all loss takes us unaware, even if we knew to expect it, to dread it.
How to console someone bent under the weight of grief? Love of course, embraces, but also meals, cake, wine, perhaps silliness to forget for some moments?
I’ve wondered before and still don’t know why sweet things bring comfort. Is it a chemical thing or do sweet things like cakes and jalebis comfort because they remind us of childhood, dappled with happinesses?
Children are good at happiness – they have a talent for it.
I’m grateful for this, and comforted by it.

I found this poem by Jalaludin Rumi in a November post:

“What Shall I Be

I have again and again grown like grass;
I have experienced seven hundred and seventy moulds.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels:
After that soaring higher than angels –
What you cannot imagine. I shall be that.”

And I found this, in a borrowed book of Faiz’s poems:


Today loneliness like a well-tried friend
Has come to be my evening wine-pourer.
We sit together waiting for the moon to rise
And set your image gleaming in every shadow.”

The poems are beautifully translated by Victor Kiernan. I think loneliness must be grief’s cousin. Grief has no brothers or sisters, is alone.

Anne Carson said, in Vox, her elegy to her brother, something about surviving loss and fashioning it into something you can carry.
These thoughts comfort me, these images of grass and feathers and something precious to carry always with us.

p.s. if anyone is reading this, what comforts you – what book, what thing? Writing?

5 Responses to Comfort

  1. Asad says:

    When I’m lonely, music like Enya’s ‘Evening Falls’. Sad songs as another singer – I forget who πŸ˜‰ – once said. So, ‘though corny it may be, a verse from Sad Songs:

    They reach into your room
    Just feel their gentle touch
    When all hope is gone
    Sad songs say so much

    But then music’s my thing.

    • Shazea Quraishi says:

      of course – music too! i like to listen to heartbreakin’ country songs when i’m undergoing painful dentist procedures – Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (Love Hurts) or Van Morrison or Leonard Cohen.

  2. Definitely music. Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover, you should have come over.’ I’m listening to this a lot at the moment. And seeing my children sleeping soundly. There’s nothing more comforting than that.

  3. Rachel Bannerman says:


  4. Shazea Quraishi says:

    I keep meaning to listen to more Jeff Buckley – will definitely look up that song.
    And touch, of course! The first thing.

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