Listened to the Lion

Lion, what roar remains inside your love?
We shall not be contained by the cages
Built around our souls, as if they’d define
Meaning inside the love we were bound.

No longer over the falls falling the tears
I hear the lion roar inside of me: “Love!”
So our souls build around us definition
Binding us to meaning, life still to live.

My voice:

Once upon a time, a version of me would have told you my favorite song was Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, and then my life began to change in ways unanticipated and a new song emerged that spoke to a deeper part of my soul needing to find its way into the world. I think the words above express something from that part of me. Song of the Week: Listen to the Lion, Van Morrison.

Artwork: Funky Lion Roar by Sarajevo2707
Funky lion roar

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A Love Song

Why should we not touch our souls
With one bow and hear
Separate strings sing one melody,
One voice to dive into
An echo
Between hills carved by Masters
Who could not have known of us?

Somehow,
They began our song
Before words stirred our tongues
Like a kiss
Born inside
A flower pushing up through dirt
To follow the path of Apollo

Its pedals,
Dripping with dew,
Swallow one ray of light.
Lips trembling,
At last,
Strong enough
For Love.  

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A Prayer to Mother (1988: Age 18)

In honor of Mother’s Day, I share a poem written for my Mom during Freshman year after receiving a letter telling of my family’s legacy at Notre Dame. She didn’t tell me before I left home, but wrote… “My father always wanted a boy, so he could go to Notre Dame. He was so proud of his Uncle Charles… he would be so proud of you.”

November 12, 1988

Mother
Open my soul to the music of the wind.

“The Virgin Mother
Blesses you
Carries you
Supports you
Feel her golden gaze.
One breath
She will guide you.
One prayer
An everlasting embrace.
One love
She will remember you.”

Oh, Madonna watch over me

“A precious heart lives forever with hope-
The presence of your eyes is fulfillment
Of our forgotten dream

Their eyes in eternity watch with you,
A smile on their resting souls.”

Amen

I always connected with the words “At Notre Dame” written by my Great Great Uncle, Fr. Charles Leo O’Donnell, CSC one of the finest Catholic poets of his generation. “Another singer down these paths may stray” he writes, someone who hears “Some whisper of a song in these old oaks” and who “may remember that I passed this way.” My songs may never match yours, Uncle Charles, but I hear you and I remember you.

Once a year I would hike to his modest grave at the Holy Cross Cemetery and say a quiet prayer for him, for the grandfather I never knew, and for my Mom. Now, Father Charles, Mom has been the singer who calmed a soul’s unrest after the grief of summer’s undoing. Grandpa Francis, I am grateful for her and I know that your eyes are smiling on her as she gives your grandson the strength he needs to bear the weight of his winter. For many more years, may I breathe brave air and whisper my songs, until, perhaps, some graced newcomer hears their faint echo.

At Notre Dame

So well I love these woods I half believe
There is an intimate fellowship we share;
So many years we breathed the same brave air,
Kept spring in common, and were one to grieve
Summer’s undoing, saw the fall bereave
Us both of beauty, together learned to bear
The weight of winter. When I go other where —
An unreturning journey — I would leave
Some whisper of a song in these old oaks,
A footfall lingering till some distant summer
Another singer down these paths may stray —
The destined one a golden future cloaks —
And he may love them, too, this graced newcomer,
And may remember that I passed this way.

Rev. Charles L. O’Donnell, CSC