Evening Poetry, October 15

The Angel of the Bog

For Lelia

by John O’ Donohue

The angel of the bog mourns in the wind

That loiters all over these black meadows.

Remember how it chose branches to strum

From the orchestra of trees that stood here;

How at twilight a chorus of birds came

To silence in nests of darkening air.

Raindrops filter through leaves, silver the air,

Wash off the film of dust to release nets

Of fragrance on which the wind can sweeten

Before expiring among the debris

That brightens each year with fallen colour

Before the weight of winter seals the ground.

The dark eyes of the angel of the bog

Never open now when dawn comes to dress

The famished grass with splendid veils of red,

Amber, white, as if its soul were urgent

And young with possibility and dreams

That a vanished life might become visible.

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.

Evening Poetry, September 25

Before The Beginning

by John O’ Donohue

Unknown to us, there are moments

When crevices we cannot see open

For time to come alive with beginning.

As in autumn a field of corn knows

When enough green has been inhaled

From the clay and under the skill

Of an artist breeze becomes gold in a day,

When the ocean still as a mirror

Of a sudden takes a sinister curve

To rise in a mountain of wave

That would swallow a village.

How to a flock of starlings

Scattered, at work on grass,

From somewhere, a signal comes

And suddenly as one, they describe

A geometric shape in the air.

When the audience becomes still

And the soprano lets the silence deepen,

In that slowed holding, the whole aria

Hovers nearer, then alights

On the wings of breath

Poised to soar into song.

These inklings were first prescribed

The morning we met in Westport

And I was left with such sweet time

Wondering if between us something

Was deciding to begin or not.

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.

Evening Poetry, September 4

Since it’s our birthday week (my husband’s and mine), here is a birthday poem.

For Your Birthday

by John O’ Donohue

Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day

The blueprint of your life

Would begin to glow on earth,

Illuminating all the faces and voices

That would arrive to invite

Your soul to growth.

Praised be your father and mother,

Who loved you before you were,

And trusted to call you here

With no idea who you would be.

Blessed be those who have loved you

Into becoming who you were meant to be,

Blessed be those who have crossed your life

With dark gifts of hurt and loss

That have helped to school your mind

In the art of disappointment.

When desolation surrounded you,

Blessed be those who looked for you

And found you, their kind hands

Urgent to open a blue window

In the gray wall formed around you.

Blessed be the gifts you never notice,

Your health, eyes to behold the world,

Thoughts to countenance the unknown,

Memory to harvest vanished days,

Your heart to feel the world’s waves,

Your breath to breathe the nourishment

Of distance made intimate by earth.

On this echoing-day of your birth,

May you open the gift of solitude

In order to receive your soul;

Enter the generosity of silence

To hear your hidden heart;

Know the serenity of stillness

To be enfolded anew

By the miracle of your being.

You can find this poem in To Bless the Space Between Us.

Evening Poetry, August 13

For Work

by John O’ Donohue

May the light of your soul bless your work with love and warmth of heart.

May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul.

May the sacredness of your work bring light and renewal to those who work with you.
and to those who see and receive your work.

May your work never exhaust you.

May it release wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.

May you never become lost in bland absences. May the day never burden.

May dawn find hope in your heart, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.

May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

You can find this poem in the collection To Bless the Space Between Us.

Evening Poetry, August 8

To Come Home To Yourself

by John O’ Donohue

May all that is unforgiven in you

Be released.

May your fears yield

Their deepest tranquillities.

May all that is unlived in you

Blossom into a future

Graced with love.

You can find this poem in the collection To Bless the Space Between Us.

Evening Poetry, July 26

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

You can find this poem in The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats.

Evening Poetry, July 24

You might be asking why I’d have a morning poem as an evening poetry selection. It’s because it is too good to resist sharing, and the last stanza in particular has become a life prayer over the past few years.

Morning Offering

by John O’ Donohue

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

You can find this poem in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.

Evening Poetry, June 6

For a New Beginning

by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

You can find this in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue.