Dienstag, 6. Januar 2015

Im Gedenken an John O'Donohue

The late John O'Donohue

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ANAM CARA

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John O’ Donohue the poet and philosopher has died suddenly at age 53 while on holiday in the South of France.A former priest, he was best known as author of Anam Cara (A friend of the soul) a compendium of Celtic wisdom for the pilgrim soul drawing on influences as diverse as Yeats and Heidegger with more than a passing nod to Christianity. He was once described as “ a poetic priest with the soul of a pagan.” He was a compelling speaker and many times I heard him espousing his spiritual philosophy on the radio, always doing it with an enthusiasm and freshness that whether you agreed or not, made it compelling listening. He had a degree in philosophy and English literature and did his PhD on Hegel, his keen intellect informing his writings while his poets eye constantly evoked the beauty and pathos of the natural world around him.He seemed to straddle a path somewhere between the Christian mystic tradition and a New Age sensibility which made his work appeal to a wide and disparate audience.He lived in a cottage in the west of Ireland and spoke Irish as his native language, and was an active campaigner against the proposed Burren interpretative centre. Most recently I heard him speaking on the Marian Finucane show on RTE radio, where he spoke about the deep centre of Christmas and the space that it creates after all the hoo hah to discover that stillness within, often presenting itself as a sense of loss or longing.His most recent publication was a book of Blessings, a collection of his poems/prayers to mark different stages in our lives. The Blessing below is taken from an earlier book, ‘Echoes of Memory’ -GOSh


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 Beannacht("Blessing")


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.


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.


May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

may the clarity of light be yours,

may the fluency of the ocean be yours,

may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

wind work these words

of love around you,

an invisible cloak

to mind your life.

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John O'Donohue

~ Echoes of Memory ~


Kurz vor seinem plötzlichen Tod am 4.1.2008 hatte ich eine bewegende Begegnung mit John O'Donohue anlässlich einer Lesung hier in Berlin.

Seine Bücher - vor allem "Anam Cara" - waren nach Florians Tod auf meiner Suche nach Trost, Verstehen des Nichtverstehbaren, Worten für das Unaussprechliche - ständige Begleiter geworden. Verschiedentlich hatte ich versucht, Kontakt zu ihm in Irland aufzunehmen. Vergeblich.  Dann eine Lesung hier und ich nahm nicht nur "Anam Cara" mit, um es signieren zu lassen, sondern auch Florian und mein Buch, um es ihm zu schenken und ihn zu bitten, es mitzunehmen nach "Flori-Land".  

Er schien berührt und wir wechselten einige Worte und er nahm das Buch gerne an sich und versprach, mir später etwas dazu zu schreiben... was er nicht tat, was ich aber verstand und ihm nicht übel nahm... Immerhin kam "FLORIAN geb. 1976" auf diesem Weg nach Irland!
Sein Tod hat mich bestürzt, war es doch der Tod, den auch Florian gestorben ist...
Noch immer haben wir vor, sein Grab in Irland zu besuchen.

 Craggagh Graveyard: John’s resting place is about four kilometers down from the Fanore church, following the coast road in the direction of Doolin, famous as a center of traditional Irish music and culture

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