Jun 06 2014

John O’Donohue – Beannacht / Blessing

Published by at 7:22 am under Poetry

Beannacht / Blessing
by John O’Donohue

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.

— from Echoes of Memory, by John O’Donohue


/ Photo by jimmy brown /

Like a wise man who has seen much, O’Donohue doesn’t shy away from the terrible difficulties we all encounter on the journey of life in the opening lines. But he also suggests to us that there is a silent conspiracy to help us forward, support and intelligence in the very earth beneath our feet.

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

His lines are not only filled with a patient sort of compassion, he reminds us that compassion and quiet wisdom is present all around us.

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.

I think the real power of a blessing poem like this is that it weaves a new vision of the world in words. The real blessing gives us is new eyes.

may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

The real blessing is that these words give us new ways to view the world we encounter, laying for us a new pattern for ordering our perception of reality. If we let it, this blessing becomes “an invisible cloak,” a heartful awareness that is a gentle buffer while it also keeps us connected to our world.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

Blessings!



[BOOK LIST REPEATING]

John O'Donohue, John O'Donohue poetry, Christian poetry John O’Donohue

Ireland (1956 – 2008) Timeline
Christian : Catholic
Secular or Eclectic

John O’Donohue is an inspiring Irish philosopher, poet, mystic who passed away unexpectedly in early 2008.

John O’Donohe had degrees in philosophy and literature. His writings, though grounded in academic philosophy and theology, are immediate, personal, very human. He was as much a mystic and a poet as a contributor to philosophical dialog.

Much of his writing and poetry drew deeply from Irish Celtic perspectives, both in Christian and pre-Christian wisdom, while speaking to a widely diverse, modern audience.

More poetry by John O’Donohue

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “John O’Donohue – Beannacht / Blessing”

  1. jane churcheron 06 Jun 2014 at 11:16 am

    This poem is so appropriate for today – 6th June when our two countries combined with others invaded France in an attempt to bring an end to the second world war.
    These beautiful words of John O’Donohe’s blessing also offer hope, his words never fail to touch me deeply – and the sychronicity of this poem for today could not go un noted. Thank you Ivan.

  2. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 06 Jun 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I thank you, too, Ivan.
    John O’Donohue was always a lift for me–and to hear
    his lilting voice as I did in Ireland was a joy. So sad that he passed away so early in life. He made a great contribution, reminding us that beyond the dead weight that hovers around us we have the support of this glorious earth I wish you blessings, Ivan,as you grapple with your chronic fatigue.
    Joy to you,
    Therese

  3. Patricia Tayloron 06 Jun 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Ivan
    Anam Cara
    [soul friend]
    Thank you
    JO’D in the everlasting arms
    Trish

  4. MILVIA ARBAIZA ROMEROon 07 Jun 2014 at 8:54 am

    DEAR IVAN,
    YOU ARE INDEED A BLESSING IN OUR LIVES… THE GREAT POETRY YOU KEEP SENDING
    IS BEYOND ANY DOUBTS A CONSTANT MOTIVATION AS MUCH AS A SUBTLE BUT DIRECT REMINDER THAT ENABLES THE READER TO COMPROMISE NEVER, EVER TO RELINQUISH HIS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE… ALL THE BLESSINGS AND ALL THE LOVE TO YOU IVAN!!!!!!

  5. Barbara Mayeron 09 Jun 2014 at 9:04 am

    I found the poem comforting in the face of tragedy or heartbreak. His images are so dynamic and real.

  6. Berylon 09 Jun 2014 at 9:42 am

    I lay awake at night, confronting the rapid descent of health to old age . . . the loss of balance especially and resulting handicaps. This blessing reminds me that we do not move into this space alone but are comforted and sustained by the constant gifts that sustain us.

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