A Path of Moonlight

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 into 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.
~John O’Donohue from “Beannacht”

photo by Josh Scholten

I figure I was born unbalanced in one way or another.  I was the kid who couldn’t manage roller skating out of fear of falling, clinging to the rail rather than risk being ground-bound yet again.  My one and only cross country skiing experience was actually cross-country sitting more than gliding.  I still freeze in place when trying to walk over an icy surface or down a steep incline — my brain just can’t help my body navigate anything other than a straight flat pathway.

It isn’t just physical balance that is a challenge for me.  As a child, and still at times in my later years, my feelings can be intense and immobilizing too,  every disappointment becoming tragedy and every happy moment so joyous I cling to it fiercely, fearing it could fade.

A blessing of balance is ideal: ground that dances to steady me when I stumble, a palette of rainbow colors to overwhelm gray emotions when I’m struggling,  a lighted pathway if the going gets dark.  

I’ve given up the idea of skating or skiing, but just maybe I can ride and glide through the waves of life without getting seasick.

10 thoughts on “A Path of Moonlight

  1. I think I’m “unbalanced” in the same ways you are, Emily, so I definitely related to this post! And I expect to see my Kelley here too, because of your John O’Donohue quote! She quotes him often herself. This was wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If a “not all that Catholic” woman could claim a patron saint that wasn’t “all that saintly”, John O’Donohue would be my joyous choice. I’m a mystic with Catholic leanings and he was a life embracing poets soul of an ex priest. It could work! 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful poem from John O’Donohue today. I sent it on to comfort a younger friend in the first month of losing his wife of twenty five years.
    I don’t often send you my appreciation, but I do read and enjoy every post you send. And many end up in my special file of inspirational words to turn back to. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s a grace to me. X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for letting me know, Patricia, most deeply appreciated, and may your young friend find solace in the knowledge you are caring about his broken heart. Blessings to you, Emily


  5. Having spent years as a chaplain hoping that listening would ease others’ suffering, and always longing for a modicum of balance in my own life, I’m reminded that Beethoven’s Ninth, Mary Oliver’s poetry and Alvin Ailey’s choreography were all created by individuals who struggled and soared through extremes of despair and joy. The diversity of God’s gifts to us is astonishing.


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