Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Blessing

I've been enjoying a lot of poetry these days, especially the work of American poet Susan Kinsolving and the Celtic blessings of Irish poet John O'Donohue, whose work I first heard on Krista Tippett's radio show Speaking of Faith. O'Donohue's Beannacht seems perfect on a day like today when we're caught between winter and spring and on our way to a holy week of death and resurrection. Here it is:

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.

(The picture is of Bardsey Island in northern Wales off the coast of Aberdaron. It's a spot that for centuries was the end of a long walking pilgrimage for many Celtic Christians and that is said to have hundreds of saints buried on it.)

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