I am grateful to Canadian singer and Wailin’ Jenny,  Ruth Moody who, in the title track to her marvellous new album These Wilder Things, uses the final line from a profoundly moving poem by the late Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher, John O’Donohue, which I’d never read.

Here is the poem in full:

A Morning Offering – by John O’Donohue (1956 – 2008)

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.


In  ‘Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom’,O’Donohue also wrote about  solitude :

“there is a place in the soul that neither space nor time nor flesh can touch. This is the eternal place within us. It would be a lovely gift to yourself to go there often-to be nourished, strengthened, and renewed. The deepest things that you need are not elsewhere. They are here and now in that circle of your own soul. Real friendship and holiness enable a person to frequently visit the hearth of his solitude”.

Yesterday, I was dismissive of Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power Of Now but I can see that the, far more poetic, words of O’Donohue are part of a similar message that I can relate to more easily

The courage and determination to embrace solitude is a truly social act.