27 Mar

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.

-from Echoes of Memory by John O’Donohue

I found this poem in a February post by Mama Kelly on her 2 Witches’ Blog (I’m slowly catching up) and thought it was absolutely beautiful.  Of course, I had to find out who John O’Donohue was and what “Beannacht” meant, so off I went into the vastness of the Internet, seeking clues.

John O’Donohue, who passed beyond the veil at the age of 53 (so young!) only last year in January 2008, was an Irish writer, philosopher, poet and, quite interesting, a priest.  He wrote “Beannacht,” which means “Blessing,” for his mother.  According to Father Brendan Hoban, he wrote it to invoke “a blessing on his mother that as infirmity came her way and that as she approached death that God would protect her, that God would mind her and that when death would come that she would find…‘a path of yellow moonlight to bring her safely home’.”  This is certainly a beautiful sentiment; we can, however, also read the poem on a completely different level:  one of continuing life, not impending death.

To me, this poem reminds me that, even when my burdens are at their heaviest, when I am at my most depressed, when I think I am going to lose my mind and things are at their darkest, the God and Goddess will always be there to provide the exact support and guidance I need to overcome each obstacle in life.

From everything I’ve read about Father O’Donohue, I don’t think he would object to my interpretation.

Thanks, Mama Kelly!

2 Responses to “Beannacht”

  1. Nicole March 28, 2009 at 2:22 PM #

    Thanks for sharing this with us! Its an awesome poem.


    • Faerie♥Kat March 28, 2009 at 11:27 PM #

      I’m glad you liked it. Just goes to show that even some Catholics (and a
      priest, no less) have a pretty awesome and vibrant intellect when it comes
      to visualization of Mother Nature…or had, in this case…

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