Thursday, 17 March 2011

Beannacht (Blessing)

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.

--John O'Donohue

Many pagans don't like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because St. Pat christianized pagan Ireland and quite frankly, we still resent it. So instead of lionizing the auld saint today, I'm featuring this poem by the brilliant and sensitive contemporary Irish mystic, poet and Catholic priest, John O'Donohue, author of Anam Cara.

And here's an extra treat -- a video of John O'Donohue himself reciting this poem shortly before his untimely death in 2008. He had the most beautiful Irish brogue and musical lilt to his voice. I could listen to him forever.


Willym said...

Many thanks!

turquoisemoon said...

WoW! What a treat!

Wendy said...

How beautiful.
Have a great day--however you celebrate it!

laughingwolf said...

totally soulful!

btw- tis said all the 'snakes' ol paddy 'drove out of ireland' were pagans, ie. non-christians... all that did was drive em 'underground'... best place to 'hide' is out in the open....

Jeanne said...

That was beautiful! Thank you!
Have a wonderful day!

Lois said...

That is a beautiful poem. No St. Paddy's day here, he is ignored. :) Surrounded by cats and sunlight, I heal. Lois

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...


mermaid gallery said...

yeh! for pagan Ireland! ...i knew there was something about this day that seemed beer and christianizing Ireland....not my kind of guy.....

Tricky Nag said...

And not surprisingly, the poem sounded way better in the video than it did in my head when I read it!

Anonymous said...

I do not celebrate St. Patrick's Day but that poem touched me so deeply.

Thanks Debra.

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, I do love John O'Donohue. I just recently purchased for my Kindle Echoes of Memory and what beautiful poems in there. But, by and large, Anam Cara is my all-time favorite.

Kathy said...

Welcome back!!! I missed you. I love the poem and plan on copying it down in my copy book. It's beautiful. And yeah, don't plan on celebrating St. Patrick's day here either. No green garments for me today.

Wendy said...

Beautiful blessing and I re-read "Anam Cara" all the time. May the blessings of St. Paddy shine gently upon all of you, Debra.

Dreaming of Jeanie said...

Oh, that was just what I needed to day. Many thanks for that beautiful work!

Beatnheart said...

Thank you Debra...I’ll raise a Guiness fer ya.

My Grama's Soul said...

Thanks for sharing this today....hope you enjoyed your visit with your mum.


Southpaw said...

Nice blessing. Leprechauns don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day either ‘cause now kids like to try and catch ‘em.

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

That made my day. Absolutely perfect!!! Thank you!


Laura said...

one of my all time favorite poems...thank you for sharing. May you feel blessed.


Goddess bless you ..Goddess bless John..

Cindy said...

Loved this, very beautiful. I needed to read this. thanks so much.

Shalet Jimmy said...

Thanks for uploading this video. I enjoyed it. I could not have understood it, If I read it....wonderful....

Elena said...

Oh WOW what a beautiful poem. It sounded great hearing him recite it. Thanks for sharing...need to go look up more of his works now.

Jim said...

What an uplifting poem, Debra! Thanks so much. And the video, thanks for this introduction.

Suzie said...

Ooooh, I could listen to him forever. Thank you SO much for sharing his beautiful poem, and voice with us.

My friend and I were talking about St. Patrick's Day, and she was wondering if it originally was a Pagan celebration because it is celebrated on St. Pat's death day.

I told her that as far as I have read of the history, that it is a Christian celebration, and up until a few years ago, wasn't even festive in Ireland. They even closed the bars!

But it made me think. .it SHOULD be a day of celebration for Pagans!

And, as someone mentioned, he didn't get rid of them. .only drove them underground. My Great, Great Grammie was the Wise Woman/Healer of her village, and she learned at her Mother & Grandmother's knees. If only the following generations had kept up the family tradition. I would have LOVED to have learned all that they knew, growing up steeped in that tradition.

It is SO good to have you back! I do hope that your Mum is doing as well as she can be. I'm sure that your visit brought light to her days, and music to her heart.

Rose - Watching Waves said...

This is still a beautiful post a year later, dear. Thank you!