For You, John O’Donohue

This January marks five years since the passing of Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue. Listening to the recordings of his lectures is like listening to a symphony of language, while the message of the words seeps slowly and deeply into the heart and mind. Once you hear his voice, you’ll know what I’m talking about. To listen to John O’Donohue being interviewed by Krista Tippett just a few months before his unexpected death, click here.

To find out more about John O’Donohue, you can visit his website here. I hope you’ll explore his work in audio and print.

I have been moved and changed, or transfigured to use one of John’s words, by his wisdom. The following poem is my tribute to John O’Donohue, a poem of gratitude, and a wish that others may also find blessings in his intellect, creativity, and compassion. This poem can also be found on his site in the read what others have posted section on his home page.

 

For You, John O’Donohue

With the nimble hand
of your words
you have
pared my sadness
like a fruit
and served
back to me
a sweetness
hidden

I want not to mourn
the words you didn’t write
but to perpetuate
the teeming tides
of your wisdom

I want the waters
of your words to rain inland
upon the people dying
in the parched regions
of their heart
so they may come
to love and study
life from your window

From your window
my infirmity shrinks:
       a river rushes
       a meadow ripples
       a willow sways
       I ride on the kind wing of imagination
       to the farthest coves
       the sweetest valleys
       the softest branches
       the bluest stones
       and there, the angels of beauty
       invite me
       and there, truth begins to unravel
       melodious, mysterious,
       unwieldy, divine.

              Cheryl Racanelli

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