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On Blessing

On Blessing

by Wolf Pascoe on September 17, 2010

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.

William Butler Yeats, Vacillation


Here are some things I know about blessing.

Nobody ever got enough of it. You didn’t. I didn’t. Nobody.

Blessing from peers isn’t much good. Generally, you need it from people you look up to.

I’ve noticed, from a distance, that very little blessing seems to come with fame.

One should ask for blessing from mentors, but mentors must be carefully chosen. You want a mentor who can see you.

To be seen by an elder, or a parent, is a blessing. You also bless your kids by playing with them.

Kings bless. That’s their proper function. Lincoln could bless. But a king possessed by his own shadow cannot bless, and wants instead to be adored.

The opposite of blessing is shame. You can combat shame by naming it when you see it, by standing up for yourself and others.

Bless often. It comes back to you.

There’s blessing in art, in ritual, in poetry, in the body. There’s blessing in quiet.

There’s blessing in being with groups of men, and women, and men and women, when the heart is open.

Someone in the other world may want to bless and look after you. I say go for it. Memorize a few lines of Yeats or Chaucer or Shakespeare and count your blessings.

I go around trying to bless Nick all the time, and occasionally he registers it. It’s a great feeling.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John September 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm

The hardest thing to remember as a father, and the most important, is that when he wants to play with you, you should seize that opportunity (if possible) while it’s still there.

I’m sure they’ll be plenty of years when he won’t be interested.


Wolf Pascoe September 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm



Tom September 28, 2010 at 1:22 am

John’s right. The moment passes and, if not taken, is gone forever.


Wolf Pascoe September 28, 2010 at 6:15 am

I figure I’ll write fewer books, but the ones I get to will be better.


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