Poetry in lockdown

This text is a part of a series of lockdown reflections by the people in NXT. Madeleine Kate McGowan is editor, artist and image/sound creator at NXT.

“As we live through this period of lockdown, I have moved into the forest together with the dog Jessie James. Between the trees and in this quiet landscape, I am visited by friends and colleagues, for a series of recorded conversations which will be published via the NXT site; The Cottage Conversations.

In this first recording I turned towards the poetry of beloved Irish poet John O’Donohue. John O’Donohue was a poet, theologian, and philosopher. He authored several books, including Anam CaraBeauty, and To Bless the Space Between Us, a collection of blessings published posthumously. More recently a new book of conversations with John has been published in Ireland, Walking on the Pastures of Wonder, with worldwide publication in 2018. He died on January 4, 2008.

As I myself am Irish, I grew up with the poetry of O’Donohue and seek his writings even more at the moment, as I can not physically travel home to Ireland, so the travelling must happen through reading and listening.

When living in the cottage, I was visited by dear friend and ballet-dancer at the Danish Royal Ballet, Nate Compiano. Together we spoke the Beannacht by O’Donohue; which means 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 into 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.

If you want to hear O’Donoue himself, read his poem aloud, find the recording here.

Next Post

Previous Post


Download podcast på iTunes / Lyt med på Spotify / Se film over Vimeo / Følg det visuelle univers og fortællingerne på Instagram og Facebook