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A Blessing for the New Year

For Josie

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 gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the curragh 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.


In his introduction to the beautiful little book, Benedictus: A Book of Blessings, 2007 (published in the U.S. as To Bless the Space Between Us, 2008), John O’Donohue (1956-2008) makes it clear that a blessing is not a poem; that a poem is by nature “more oblique; it works deep underneath conversation”, whereas the blessing is a personal, “direct address, driven by immediacy and care”. . . not “a sentiment or a question; it is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart”, opening a window on reality which can bring immediate transformation to our lives. O’Donohue was an Irish philosopher and author, poet and priest who integrated Celtic spiritual tradition into his teaching.

Poem or not, there is always room for a blessing in our life. I don’t know the exact meanings of beannacht and curragh . . . am understanding them as “blessing” and “current”, respectively. If you are familiar with the terms, please let me know more accurate translations.