May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Maybe it is just because I am Irish-American (like my red-headed informant), but I feel like this is possibly the warmest goodbye a friend or stranger could offer me. My informant tells me that, although his upbringing wasn’t stocked with Irish poems, this is the one that he remembers best because of the sheer beauty of it. He and I both agree that while the Irish can come across as a bit feisty sometimes and nearly always a bit too loquacious, they are the most kind-souled people either of us have ever met (we have both had the fortune of going to Ireland). The way that this poem ends perfectly encapsulates the Irish attitude towards God: a loving figure who watches out for his children and gives them the gift of the world’s beauty every day. My informant and I were both raised Catholic in the Chicagoland area, so we are used to being around Irish Catholics. For whatever reason, this poem resonates with both of our childhoods, and we both look forward to sharing it with our respective children one day.