John O’Donohue Poem

I regularly listen to a radio show called “Speaking of Faith” on NPR, and last year I discovered that the show is also available as a podcast.  Now I carry it around with my in my iPod!  A few months ago, at a time when I really, really needed it, I had the good luck to be listening to a very special episode of SOF that featured host Krista Tippett’s interview with the late John O’Donohue, who was an extraordinary Irish author and poet.  During that show, they included a recording of Mr. O’Donohue reading his poem, Beannacht, which is still one of my all-time favorite poems.  Would love to hear this included in a wedding ceremony someday.

Click here to listen to Mr. O’Donohue reading this poem and see a slideshow of Irish scenes (video created by SOF producers).

You can listen to the interview in its entirety, which is called “The Inner Landscape of Beauty”, here.

Read the Speaking of Faith blog here.

Photo of John O'Donohue

UPDATE:  I’ve had several readers ask me for the text of this poem, so I’ll share that too (see below).  Please note that it is well worth the time to watch this video listen to Mr. O’Donohue read it in his lovely Irish accent.


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.

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  1. VERY nice, Beth. And what a great voice the poet has! I can see why you enjoy this program and get inspiration from it.

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