Wednesday, January 1, 2014

John O'Donohue: "Beannacht"






For Josie.


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 in to 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 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.



[Curator's note: "Beannacht" is the Gaelic word for "blessing." A "currach" is a large boat used on the west coast of Ireland.]


"Beannacht" by John O'Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. © Doubleday, 2008. The poem is listed in the book as a blessing for the New Year.

Video credit: O'Donohue recited this poem for Krista Tippett's OnBeing program shortly before his death in 2008. The video was produced by Colleen Scheck and Trent Gilliss. If you can't see the viewer above, click here to hear the poet's reading, presented with a collage of images selected by his friends.



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