Thursday, 29 November 2012

Review: Four ELements - Reflections on Nature author John O'Donohue

Always a challenge to contemplative thinking, Irish poet and philosopher, John O'Donohue, brings spiritual understanding using concepts of air, water, fire, stone.. 
I appreciated his exploring aspects of air as applicably descriptive of Ruach Ha'kodesh - Holy Spirit ~ the breath of God.

O'Donohue's quote from a 13th century portion of a Persian prayer poem continues its resonance in me ~ 

"Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way 
Of a well, then lifted out into light." 

While not in agreement with every theological thought, there is much to enjoy in the exploration...

Four Elements: Reflections on Nature
author: John O'Donohue
publisher: Harmony Oct 11.11

"From the beloved author of the bestselling To Bless the Space Between Us and Anam Cara comes a new work that shares his insights on nature and the ancient wisdom of this earth.

John O'Donohue won hundreds of thousands of admirers with his now classic work on Celtic spirituality Anam Cara. Unfortunately he died suddenly at age fifty-two just as his book of blessings, To Bless the Space Between Us, was being published. The loss of his powerfully wise and lyrical voice has been profoundly missed, but his many readers are given a special opportunity to revisit John in a new book based on a series of papers he wrote on the elements of water, stone, air, and fire, now published here for the first time. O'Donohue's readers know him as both a spiritual guide and a poet, and in this work he exhibits both qualities, sharing his Celtic heritage and his love for his native landscape in the west of Ireland. As O'Donohue explores a range of themes relating to the way we live our lives today, he reveals how the energy and rhythm of the natural world—its innocence and creativity, its power and splendor—hold profound lessons for us all. With a foreword written by his beloved brother, Pat, this illuminating book is an inspired reflection on the ancient wisdom of the earth." [Goodreads]

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Review: Conamara Blues author John O'Donohue

"Translating the beauty and splendor of his native Conamara into a language exquisitely attuned to the wonder of the everyday, John O'Donohue takes us on a moving journey through real and imagined worlds. Divided into three parts -- Approachings, Encounters, and Distances -- Conamara Blues at once reawakens a sense of intimacy with the natural world and a feeling of wonder at the mystery of our relationship to this world. Whether exploring the silent, eternal memory of Conamara or focusing on the power of language and the vagaries of human need and passion, O'Donohue tenderly reveals the fragile vulnerability of love and friendship. The result is a musical, transcendent, and deeply moving series of poems that exemplifies O'Donohue at his finest.

Written with penetrating insight and distilled transparence, Conamara Blues offers a singular and lasting imaginative vision of a landscape of hope and possibility -- powerfully exhibiting the mastery of a poet at the height of his lyric powers." [Goodreads]

John O’Donohue’s second book of 82 poems follows the same format as his first, ‘Echoes of Memory’, this one having three sections, each introduced by poetic or philosophic thoughts authored by others. 

Approachings and Distances artistically explore a variety of elemental life themes, while Encounters focuses on the full spectrum of Christ’s life from annunciation to coronation. A beautifully expressed journey for the spirit, there is much here for contemplative reflection. 

‘The Nativity’ was one of many that spoke deeply to me as it exquisitely captures the life-giving intimacy of pregnancy and birth. And, of course, ‘Fluent’ ~
“I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.”

I Would recommend this one for poetry fans to experience the beauty of John's use of language..

Conamara Blues
author John O'Donohue
Harper Perennial  Feb 3.04

Monday, 26 November 2012

Review: Echoes of Memory author John O'Donohue

Echoes of Memory
author John O'Donohue
Three Rivers Press Jan 25.11

Echoes of Memory ~
Irish philosopher, John O’Donohue’s first published book was one of poetry. Artistic word crafting seems to be his forte with this work being a beautiful introduction. Ninety one entries divided into four sections, each beginning with an introductory quote of another writer. Gaelic and English flow seamlessly in O’Donohue’s writing, sometimes interpreted, other times not. Descriptive depths of his familiarity with Ireland’s Conamara countryside, Celtic spirituality, tiding sea, cottage firesides, relationships, all creatively expressed through O’Donohue’s perspectives. 

This volume contains the well known ‘Beannacht’ dedicated simply ‘for Josie, my mother’

“...May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
...And so may a slow 
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.”

For your enjoyment, a beautiful recitation of this poetic blessing, enhanced with the lovely Irish accents of the author himself, is available on youtube.