A blessing for a Sunday night, or a Monday morning, whatever faces you this week or has been in the week just closed. A blessing for those I know and love, and those who may have stumbled upon this looking for something else. Shortly before his sudden unexpected death in 2008 aged 52, John O Donohue recited his poem Beannacht, during an interview. I had the privilege of meeting him at Greenbelt Festival in the year or two before this, having long been captured by his writings. In his family’s own words:
“John had an amazing intellect which could never allow itself to become a prisoner of its own `ivory tower`. He had a beautiful, wild soul that he showered with love and attention. All of this, together with his great respect for language as expression and his sensitive eye led him on the journey towards poetry as being his best-loved medium of expression and conversation. I think that ‘poetry’ must have been very frustrated at all the time he spent under the spell of Theology and Philosophy!! Poetry was an impatiently awaiting vehicle eager to transport his fluency out to starved ears.“
He served as a catholic priest for most of his adult life At the end of 2000, John retired from public priestly ministry and devoted himself full-time to his writing and to a more public life of integrity in action – speaking, advocating against social injustice, and inspiring the wealthy and powerful in society to engage their own integrity in service of meaningful, positive change. He is certainly someone I can say ( and many others will agree) whose ‘life was an inspiration, and whose memory a benediction’.
Beannachtfor Josie, my mother On the day when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you. And when your eyes freeze behind the grey window and the ghost of loss gets into you, may a flock of colours, indigo, red, green and azure blue come to awaken in you a meadow of delight. When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home. May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of the light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.
© Estate of John O’Donohue. All rights reserved.
You can find out more about John and his work at : http://www.johnodonohue.com/