John O'Donohue

John O'Donohue Poems

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,

May death come gently towards you,
Leaving you time to make your way
Through the cold embrace of fear

May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, without you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.

When the light lessens,
Causing colors to lose their courage,
And your eyes fix on the empty distance

John O'Donohue Biography

John O'Donohue (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularising Celtic spirituality. Eldest of his three siblings, he was raised in west Ireland in the area of Connemara and County Clare, where his father Patrick O'Donohue was a stonemason, while his mother Josie O'Donohue was a housewife. O'Donohue became a novice at Maynooth, in north County Kildare, at age of 18, here he earned degrees in English, Philosophy, and Theology at St Patrick's College in County Kildare. He was ordained as Catholic priest in 6 June 1979. O'Donohue moved to Tübingen, Germany in 1986, and completed his dissertation in 1990 on German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel for his PhD in philosophical theology from Eberhard Karls University. In 1990, he returned to Ireland to continue his priestly duties, and began his post-doctoral work on the 13th century mystic, Meister Eckhart.)

The Best Poem Of John O'Donohue

On The Death Of The Beloved

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:

To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.

John O'Donohue Comments

aimee 28 June 2018

Looking for poem by john o'donohue that begins like this: When you become vulnerable, any ideal or perfect image of yourself falls away

19 36 Reply
Serena newby 05 November 2018

looking for a poem that begins, As the fever of day

7 7 Reply
Rosemary 30 March 2020

Looking for the poem chosen by Fergal Keanenon radio 4

9 0 Reply
Ciaran 19 February 2020

Looking for a biography of the poet. Is there one? . If not why not

0 0 Reply
Michele 01 July 2022

Looking for poem that begins with 'There is a place in you'

0 0 Reply
William Allan 01 April 2020

The reading on R4 was actually just the last few stanzas of a longer poem titled " For the Breakup of a Relationship" .

4 0 Reply
jenna Drury 31 March 2020

Also looking for the radio 4 John O donahue poem please

1 0 Reply
Irene 30 March 2020

The quote starts: This is a time to be slow....." from " To Bless the Space between us, " a Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue

11 4 Reply
Jean H 30 March 2020

I loved the poem and how it was read by feral Keane this morning on Radio 4. It was about Morning but I didn't catch the title. Any information gratefully received. Thank You

11 7 Reply

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