John O'Donohue


For Marriage; John O’Donohue

My friend and fellow Celebrant, Murphy Birdsall turned me on to John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher who died suddenly on January 4th. He was a ” native Irish speaker, a former priest, and author of books that provided sustenance for many souls hungering for connection in a shallow, narcissistic world — a world full of what called the ‘religion of rush.'” (From the NPR website, www.npr.org ).

He wrote frequently about life’s milestones, especially in his last book, “To Bless the Space Between Us”. This is a poem that I especially like as a leave taking reading at the end of a wedding.

For Marriage, by John O’Donohue

As spring unfold the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.

As the ocean finds calm in the view of land
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.

As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.

As kindly as the moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.

As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverance.

As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.

As elegant as dreams absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.

And as twilight harvests the day’s colors,
May love bring you home to each other.