What a full and many-faceted word abide is. It can mean reside, stay, accept, tolerate, wait, bear patiently, put up with…it takes a web of concepts and tucks them all inside a quiet little word that rests easy in the mouth and soft on the heart.
‘Bide with me is a line made for love poetry. Abide pleads, “Put up with me, stay with me, be with me, live with me.” This take on love appeals to me more than the traditional “Be mine,” because I reject the idea that love has anything to do with ownership.
I don’t remember the poet, but I know there is a real line that’s “Come with me and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove.”* I know, the ‘biding is implied there, but that’s my reading of it, and interpretation is what poetry is all about, right? Of course right. Abide gets along with togetherness and endurance. Lasting and living.
So in a way it’s a survival word too, I guess or maybe a word that tells us there’s more than one spin on the whole idea of survival. “Generations come and go, but the earth abides,” or something like that. (That’s a Bible quote, if I recall correctly.) The phrase Earth Abides is a post-apocalypse novel about how the end of the world isn’t the end…
Anyway. I’m almost out of time. Lots of thinking between words.
So basically I have a biding affection for abide. It’s a comfy word, a gentle, quiet one that insists there’s value in the warmth of home fires. More fiery, flashy passions compete for our attention night and day all our lives. Abide? It is willing to wait for us to learn how appreciate it.
*the poem is by Christopher Marlowe: The Passionate Shepherd To His Love. I looked it up later.
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