Poetry

John O’Donohue – Beannacht / Blessing

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.”

– John O’Donohue


This beautiful poem by Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue is addressed as a blessing for his mother, Josie, and is one of many prayers and blessings written over the course of his life. Beannacht means goodbye in Irish and there is something so tender in the tone of parting and letting go that runs through this poem, as well as in the loving wishes for nourishment, clarity, fluency and protection.


Beannacht / Blessing

For 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 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.

John O’Donohue (1956-2008)
From: Echoes of Memory 


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