The poem ‘Slow Me Down Lord,’ has been revered for years by the Alcoholics Anonymous community espousing its magical and restorative and transformative powers. Not surprisingly, given it’s title, it has also been a big hit with the Marijuana community.
If you google the origins of the poem ‘Slow Me Down’ however, you’ll notice that there’s considerable confusion as to its author.
Most claim it was written by the popular American writer Wilfred Anlan Peterson. Others attribute it to the writer Holborn. And others again swear it was written by Orin Crain who never copyrighted it. And another cohort again suggest it was imported from Turkish writings and simply Americanised by the above writers.
Whatever about it’s author, the single best rendition you’ll hear anywhere in the world comes from one, Mossie Scanlon, who was born and raised under the foot of Mount Brandon.
Reilly had the pleasure of hearing Mossie recite this poem at Cuas Braonnan (Brandons Creek) last week. Cuas Braonnan lies on the extreme west coast of the Dingle Peninsula and is the exact point from where St Brendan the Navigator descended Mount Brandon and set sail for the ‘Promised Land somewhere between 512 and 530 AD.
Reilly will write about St Brendans voyage in a subsequent blog but suffice it to say, that in Kerry, they believe implicitly that Brendan discovered America some 900 years before the Viking’s and 500 years before Columbus.
He documented his journey in Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis (The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot). Tim Severin would later confirm that this was possible when in 1977 he voyaged in a similar craft to the exact same places name-checked in the ‘Navigatio.’
Reilly was facilitating an international gathering of industry experts on an issue of global significance in Dingle. In an effort to stretch their minds and their imagination and their sense of possibility they had assembled in this sacred space.
When Mossie recited ‘Slow Me Down Lord’ everyone was spellbound. Mossie suggested that we all should learn this poem off by heart. It’s pure magic.
Slow Me Down Lord.
Slow me down Lord and
Remember where we’ve been today and
Where we are now.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the
Quieting of my mind.
Give me amidst the confusion of today the
Calmness of the everlasting hills.
Ease the tension of my nerves and muscles with the
Soothing music of the singing streams.
Help me to know the magical restorative power of sleep.
Teach me to take MINUTE vacations of slowing down to…
Look at a flower.
Talk to a friend.
Pat a dog.
Read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise
So that I may know that the race is not always to the swift.
That there is more to life than measuring speed.
Let me look upwards into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong because
It grew slowly and well
Slow me down Lord and inspire me to send my roots
Deep into the soul of life’s enduring values that I may
Grow towards the stars of my enduring destiny.
- Be a Wizard. Wizards perform magic. The Cambridge dictionary defines ‘magic’ as ‘the use of special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible.’ Certain places and people and words possess magical powers, or as Mossie described to Reilly in Irish, are ‘Draíochtmhar.’ The words of ‘Slow Me Down Lord’ have magical properties. Memorise them. Use them. There’s no copyright on them.
- Slow Me Down Lord.
At the time of writing, word has just come in that Reillys buddy, Karen Weekes, has just become the first Irishwoman to row solo and unaided across the Atlantic Ocean and has ended her record-breaking feat after more than 80 days rowing 3,000 nautical miles that tested her to the limits of endurance.
Back in July, at a Smácht conference in the Burren, Karen spoke about her plans and fears for her journey. When Don Colleran asked her why she would even consider doing something as madly challenging as this she said there were two reasons. One was to challenge herself. The other was to provide a platform for encouraging women and girls to push themselves outside their comfort zones and believe in their abilities to succeed both in their work and everyday lives.
Karen has done both in no uncertain terms. Like Mossie, she is a Wizard. Wizards are people who perform magic. They use special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible.
Reilly was fierce proud that the word ‘SMÁCHT’ was emblazoned on her boat ‘Millie’ as she rowed those 3500 miles because in order to achieve anything of significance in life you need Smácht.
Thank you Karen and Mossie. You’re magic.