Vox Populi

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John O’Donohue: Beannacht

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 gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
.
When the canvas frays
In the curragh 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.


Ed. note: “Beannacht” is Gaelic for “blessing.”

From Echoes of Memory (Transworld Publishing, 2010). Included in Vox Populi for educational uses only.

John O’Donohue (1956 – 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularising Celtic spirituality.

High Cross in Llanynys, North Wales

8 comments on “John O’Donohue: Beannacht

  1. Barbara Huntington
    January 4, 2022

    This takes on a new meaning as I lie in my hospital bd after a stroke

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      January 5, 2022

      I hope you are healing, Barbara. I know from your fb posts that many people love you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Barbara Huntington
        January 5, 2022

        Thank you. Out of ICU. Now in stroke unit. Having something called TEE test tomorrow. Los of some vision in right eye plus some numbness in right hand and mouth. Some short term memory probs but maybe on purpose when they ask who was the last president. Finally have the correct year in my head. One step at a time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Vox Populi
          January 7, 2022

          Yes, many of us wish we could forget that DT was our president. Take care, Barbara. We need your voice here.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. kim4true
    January 2, 2022

    A lovely blessing. Yes, it talks of grief, but it invites vivid colors to brighten the gray hours. That’s a sentiment that feels so appropriate now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. worthingethnographic
    January 2, 2022

    I’ve long loved this sparse, simple, moving poem and shared it with people who are in moments of grief. Receiving it in my inbox today was a beautiful new year gift. Thanks for making of me today the blessed, instead of the blesser. Truly appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

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