Beannacht (Blessing)

This woman, Sarah Kay, made me want to memorize a poem. 

And to fearlessly, passionately recite it for others.

Just like my nanny used to do.

And I have Gail to thank for this discovery. And Le Donne too.

What are the 3 things I know to be true?

You will understand the context for this question if you listen to Sarah and her TED talk.

1. Things always look better in the morning. They look even better on a sunny morning.

2.  Love always overcomes fear.

3. No matter what happens to me in life—really, no matter what—I will be ok. I will still find a way to thrive.

And below–Beannacht–is perhaps the poem I will memorize and perform.

It seems fitting for today, with so many in mourning and surveying hard circumstances.

It is time for beannacht.




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4 Responses to Beannacht (Blessing)

  1. Gail O'Kane April 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    I forgot when we met the other evening that about a year ago I’d started a word document where I was saving poems I liked. So when I opened it today, how funny, the first one I had saved was also titled “Blessing” and it was about spring:

    A Blessing
    Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
    Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
    And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
    Darken with kindness.
    They have come gladly out of the willows
    To welcome my friend and me.
    We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
    Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
    They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
    That we have come.
    They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
    There is no loneliness like theirs.
    At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
    I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
    For she has walked over to me
    And nuzzled my left hand.
    She is black and white,
    Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
    And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
    That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
    Suddenly I realize
    That if I stepped out of my body I would break
    Into blossom.

    — James Wright

  2. Renee Emerson May 4, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    I actually posted this James Wright poem on my Facebook profile this year. That last line is a killer. One lives for the days one feels as if breaking into blossom is inevitable. I love your poem as well,dear Rachel. I do believe in the benefit of memorizing poems. It is good to have a song that one can speak,cradled in the heart and held in the brain. A poem ought to be one of the meditations one does every single day,along with Bible reading aloud. It is a golden carved frame for the day. I recommend keeping a copy of The Norton Anthology of Poetry nearby at all times. One never knows. I have even carried it in my purse,which I do not recommend unless your chiropracter looks like Cary Grant and is congenial.

    • Rachel Greenhouse May 4, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Renee, your comment about the chiropractor made me laugh out loud in the coffee shop. Now people think I’m a little crazy (they probably did before.) ( :

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