Sunday, February 24, 2008


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 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 curach 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.

Posted by permission — Author’s estate. © John O'Donohue. All rights reserved.

For more about John O'Donohue, see

Listen to John O' Donohue reading this poem

I'm not sure, but I believe I first heard about John O' Donohue in a Sounds True catalogue. He spoke in Seattle in recent years, at which time he signed my copy of his book titled ANAM CARA. I asked him to write out in Irish:

Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí

which I understood to mean "praise the youth and she will grow," a phrase that I had heard on a set of his tapes from ANAM CARA. When I first pronounced it, he looked puzzled but smiled broadly when he figured out what I was trying to say.

The last few weeks have been challenging. I've not been able to respond to comments, emails and letters as I would wish to. Thanks so much for continuing to visit.


R.L. Bourges said...

thanks for the intro to John O'Donohue. I'm sure to follow up.
(and the colors? nourishing beauty.)

Anonymous said...

Oh those flowers make me long for spring. And thanks for the poem to John O'Donohue. It was lovely to see an Irish word as a title to a post, and then to see where you went with it.

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant by...

dreaminginthedeepsouth said...

This is a favourite of mine, the short poem 'Fluent':

I would love to live / Like a river flows / Carried by the surprise / Of its own unfolding.

Also , for you:


from ‘Benedictus – A Book of Blessings’

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.


Lindaa said...

For more information about John and his work visit:

(BTW - we are truly delighted that John's work speaks to so many, and in such depth. It is our responsibility, however, to note that the blessing quoted above is a copyrighted work. (C) John O'Donohue. All rights reserved.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.)

Linda Alvarez
Business Manager
John O'Donohue Literary Estate