For a New Father

John O’Donohue

Published in JHH14.3 – Men’s Health

As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your new child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life.

Since the first stir of its secret becoming,
The echo of your child has lived inside you,
Strengthening through all its night of forming
Into a sure pulse of fostering music.

How quietly and gently that embryo-echo
Can womb in the bone of a man
And foster across the distance to the mother
A shadow-shelter around this fragile voyage.

Now as you behold your infant, you know
That this child has come from you and to you;
You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.

Perhaps for the first time,
There awakens in you
A sense of your own mortality.

May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.

May you be gentle and loving,
Clear and sure.

May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on our ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.