Courant d’Air


Lost somewhere in love’s language

Between bonjour and au revoir.

How is it I have strayed so far

From what was once so important?

I have travelled land and sea

But with each step

A part of you approaches from the past,

Present and possible future

To remind me of your existence,

To recall how much of you

Is rooted deep within me

And to confirm how much of me

I left behind in you in that time we had

And shared and made;

On your banks, along your cobbled streets,

Within your bars, on the lips of your men

Whom I kissed and your ladies who I danced with

And behind that grey door

And up along that wide wooden staircase

Which spiralled its way to my first home

Nestled in the oldest part of you.

It was here where Joni Mitchell

Rang out in my ears for the first time

Through the angelic tones of the blonde creature

Who lulled me from laughter to chaos

On that old templed street-

A stones throw from my first hotel,

The scene of my first French kiss,

Tucked away behind my favoured park,

Resting under the watchful ghost of Picasso

Where I would soon burn to a crisp

As summer’s sun found Irish skin to roast on.

How we laughed in that living room

With its viewless windows

Letting in only the bare minimum of light

As my musical Nymph rehearsed

Endless Irish dirges that would pay the rent

While the spritely hippy

That hid beneath her voluptuous body,

In green velveteen bell-bottoms

And tasseled honeyed hair,

Begged her to let loose, break free and fly like a bird.

I remember that morning as spring arrived

And I opened the windows to find warm air

Perched on our sills before I read her

My first French penned poem;

The Traveler Lost;

A young man drowns amid foreigners

Without words to express himself.

She laughed till her eyes brimmed with tears

And I, almost unable to finish,

Sobbed in a likewise comic and uncontrollable state,

Indulging in the unconsciously humorous overkill

Of the self-indulgent prose of a 22 year old child

Dancing about in grown up shoes.

And yet, in that very fact;

In the acceptance of our naivety and innocence,

We laughed our way, amid childish ignorance,

Through the best of times and dared each other not to care.

And yet now, so far from that very home,

How close its infamous memory

Ventures to mock me

For the distance I have let slip in between.

In all my dreams of traveling and exploring,

How was I to know that my feet would fall

So fast in love with that first touch

Upon your cobbled streets?

I am the sparrow, lost to its nest,

Forever flying in ascending circles

And catching your scent on every other breeze,

Unsure of why it calls me still,

But hopeful to one day be flown home on your courant d’air.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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