Photo by Markus Grass

This beautiful poem was written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes on the death of the wonderful John O’Donohue, whose works appear frequently in these pages.  Under the trine from Jupiter to Uranus this week our perspectives can shift and we can begin to see our world in a new light. 

The Painted Face Of God

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I’ve often thought in my life how hard it will be to leave this earth
And once when I was so ill and lay dying and crying
Thinking how horrible to leave the people I so loved
As though I would never see them, ever again
Those most precious to me

To never hold them, smell them, hear them again
And especially also to leave the mysterium of this earth
Our beloved yellow sun
Our brilliant blue sky
Our mother of pearl shining moon
Our green grasses
Our purple heather
Our black-winged raptors
Our silver wolves
Our colored songbirds
All these of such beauty

A seeming nowhere else known in the entire universe
To leave this painted face of god
That we lived mirrored upon
This painted face of god
That teaches us through the seasons of flowers and pines on mountains
And creatures and red hearts beating
In flurries all over the world
In all that moves with purpose on earth
In all else

How can anyone believe that here on earth is not god
Right here on earth
How can we leave
This magnificent, incandescent, radiant, beautiful painted face of god
On earth
And I wept and I grieved

How can we leave this beautiful god on holy earth
So filled with gems and diamonds and gold and silver
And all the elements of wonder
And I wept

But in time now as many years have passed in my life
As I gather more years
I am able to see better now the far encampment in my own life
And coming closer and closer now
In the seventh decade of my life
To all the time travel awaiting me
And awaiting us all

I realize, I realize yes, god is here on earth
We are with god here
So very very yes
And that we travel one day
From god here on earth
To the star-rapt god riding across the sky
That they are the same

That we may leave in this way or in that way
But we are only traveling
From our precious painted god on earth
To our precious star-rapt god of the cosmos
That we are not leaving
We are only traveling
Leaving god to go to god

And so it is for John
And so it will be for us one day
And thus we are together on the journey now
Some a little ahead
Some a little behind
But not apart
Not ever

We are all traveling together
So may it be for you
And so may it be for me
And so may it be for all of us
Ride on, dear anam cara, friend John
Ride on white

Transcribed by David Paul Kilpatrick.

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