The following blessing is something that’s opened-out and extended back recollection of my father and his shaping, steadfast hand. It’s his birthday, today … and these words – John O’Donohue’s words, ‘For a Father’ – recall him to me.
“The longer we live,
The more of your presence
We find, laid down,
Weave upon weave
Within our lives.
The quiet constancy of your gentleness
Drew no attention to itself,
Yet filled our home
With a climate of kindness
Where each mind felt free
To seek its own direction.
As the fields of distance
Opened inside childhood,
Your presence was a sheltering tree
Where our fledgling hearts could rest.
The earth seemed to trust your hands
As they tilled the soil, put in the seed,
Gathered together the lonely stones.
Something in you loved to inquire
In the neighborhood of air,
Searching its transparent rooms
For the fallen glances of God.
The warmth and wonder of your prayer
Opened our eyes to glimpse
The subtle ones who
Are eternally there.
Whenever, silently, in off moments,
The beauty of the whole thing overcame you,
You would gaze quietly out upon us,
The look from your eyes
Like a kiss alighting on skin.
There are many things
We could have said,
But words never wanted
To name them;
And perhaps a world
That is quietly sensed
Across the air
In another’s heart
Becomes the inner companion
To one’s own unknown.” (‘For a Father’ in ‘Homecomings,’ To Bless the Space Between Us, John O’Donohue)
Listening to – U2’s ‘Kite’.
Quote to Inspire – “The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” Susan Meiselas
4 thoughts on “81 Years – Today”
Something else – smooth snow and smooth words. Thanks
Smoother, rounded words to express what perhaps can be, at times, a more rocky or jagged relationship – that between father and son; John O’Donohue’s words are perhaps lyrical in addition to their being poignant. Good, good schtuff!
Another beautiful and meaningful poem by John O’Donohue. Love the last paragraph. Thank you.
Hey there, Isa:
John O’Donohue’s last stanza says much about fathers and how they know us and interact with us. From sidelines, watching, interested and paying attention they watch our every move – seeing our intention (with accuracy) and how we’re proceeding. They can anticipate the potential wreck and often coach us at just the right time (when we’re ready to hear advice). They can see the fun being had and from the mother-father dyad, it’s usually the father that can gauge a son or daughter’s readiness to try out their wings in the world; they can see the culmination of independence in the first big choices a son or daughter makes and provide room to do so. And, fathers are the ones who can best help us out when we’ve been in a fix or a fix is needed.
It’s great to have you looking in, Isa.
Take care … 🙂