Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, January 7, 2008

Best Thing in the World

I have been reading the wise words of Irish poet and philosopher John O' Donohue for a good number of years, having found his thoughts to be stirring, gentle and ethereal.
I was saddened to hear that he passed away this week, explaining why I felt the need to comment so on his writing. I recalled some lines of his from one of my favourite pieces. Much like a soothing balm, this reflection offers consolation and peace in moments of hopelessness.

Beannacht (Blessing) by John O’Donohue

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 in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

There was no sense of the material in John O' Donohue's words; no sign of possessiveness or greed or ever a suggestion of physical gain. He assumed the most essential things to be kind, patient thoughts. One might say, things not of the world but out of it, as offered by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

The Best Thing in the World

What's the best thing in the world ?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Light, that never makes you wink;
Memory, that gives no pain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world ?
Something out of it, I think.

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