• Róisin O'Reilly

Wild Geese

I met Daniel O' Leary at a retreat he was facilitating in Ardfert, Kerry in the summer of 2013. We became good friends and stayed that way. He sadly passed onto the next life last January. Daniel was one of those rare human beings you meet in life. He was enormously generous of heart and shaped by his passion and love of the creative spirit. When he passed his friend and writing colleague, an English poet, Jonathan Tulloch, wrote these words of farewell for him.

And yet I post another poem called "Wild Geese". The last by the American poet Mary Oliver who's work Daniel admired greatly, and who also passed into the next life herself in January of this year. Daniel loved the image of the wild goose, the restless bird, searching, never satisfied, with the well trodden path but instead wanting to make a new path, which he did. This poem refers to him flying over two lovely soft Kerry hills, known as - the Paps of Anu - the land which gave birth to him and a mythic reminder of the beauty and live giving feminine planet that breaths life into us every day.

I sent this photo to Dónal last August while on Valentia Island . He asked me to paint it. Unfortunately I don't paint!


Last night we heard the wild geese winging high over the crossroads at Rathmore and we knew that you too had flown.

Of course you’d leave us with a sky dance! A gentle goose arrow, singing softly through the Paps of Anu into that clear, unfading musical beyond your heart had always heard. Yearned. Earned.

And for those of us left behind at our own suddenly silent crossroads

(waltz-less without you, all fiddles forlorn) what parting gift? The astonishing secret that we too have wings borrowed from the boundless, hearts huge as horizons,

and the Southwind.