There was a man I used to know,
who came a calling long ago,
back in the days when I didn’t know,
when I didn’t know the truth of me,
when I didn’t know who I could be.

There was a boy once, long ago,
fragile as filigree and falsetto,
there was a boy I used to know,
who didn’t know, I didn’t know.

I am a man now not from here,
who’s watched the shadows disappear;
the jeers and shame for being queer,
I’m not that same boy anymore,
I’ve set my sail to another shore.

If you said ‘home boy’, I wouldn’t know,
if you said ‘go boy’, I would not know

I couldn’t say which way to go.

I came a calling long ago,
I caught a calling that pulled me so,
came from inside and would not let go,
and now I can’t let it go,
can’t let the calling, can’t let it go.

I had a hero long ago,
he played me music sweet and slow,
I was the string at the Château d’Eau,
I was a puppet in his travelling show.

There was a puppet he used to know,
of sugar sweet and gentle snow,
but strings grow cold over melting snow,
and so he had to let me go,
he had no choice but to let me go.

I will not keep you, you have to know,
you’re just a pull of my cross and bow,
i’ll release the string and watch you go,
I will not want you to know me so,
we’ll let it burn out in the afterglow,
that’s the blow, but this I know,
and here I am to tell you so.

So you can love me before I go,
and you can taste me but then forego,
you can hold me like Calypso
did so long ago till she let go,
for this I know, I will let go,
of all I don’t know, this I know.

There was a man I used to know
who came a calling long ago,
I loved him so and yet I let him go,

I couldn’t say; ’I cannot stay’
but now he knows and so it goes.

There was a boy I used to be,
silent and still like a sleeping bee,
trying to hide behind a nobody,
but now he’s no more a part of me,
I see him sometimes out at sea
and in the shade of what used to be.

But he’s not me, that sleeping bee,
just thought it was who I was meant to be.

But it was not me, he was not me.
You see; that nobody; it wasn’t me,
there was a boy I used to be
but now this man, this man is me
or at least the only part I’ll let you see,
for all the rest, all the rest,
I’ve learned to keep that just for me

I learned you gotta keep something
because love;

It don’t come free.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud: 





  1. Words fail me Dami. That’s awesome. Read it out to SO and its like, stunned silence afterwards because its just amazing! I mean, its just superb – nothing I write can do it justice!

    • Believe me Liz, these words you just wrote couldn’t bring more joy! Thank you so much. I’m really enjoying this little series and thrilled that you liked it so much. It felt very bare but, honesty, like colour, is so important. Huge hugs to you both 🤗🤗

      • Thank you Liz. Actually, for this series I’m using the self made album covers of Joni Mitchell as an inspiration for each sketch. She is an Artist from songs to canvas, always having a period of painting after a period of songwriting, although never knowing which came first and each canvas of color she creates is as touching as each song of purpose. Smiles right back at you

  2. Pingback: I CAME TO THE CITY, MY MUSE, MISS MITCHELL – Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by D. B. Donnelly

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