WINTER 2018, Scribe Base Online Magazine

Winter 2018

So honored to be part of the Winter 2018 Scribe Base online magazine with my poem Snow Falling and overjoyed to be sharing the pages with poetry and artwork from the Uber talented Kerfe from

Drop over to Scribe Base and download the issue here:

Thank you to Scribe Base for this opportunity and congratulations to all the artists involved (especially Kerfe!)


I kissed a wish once

when time was tender as flora,

to swim as I fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

when hope was all that I had,

to be fine as a fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

when cornered by courtiers too curt,

to be free as a fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

but time was not to be told,

I lost my freedom, once,

but now have wings that unfold.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly

Inspired by a twitter poetry challenge from @WrittenRiver asking us to draw inspiration from the painting of James Christensen above.




I slipped off to the edge of the city, this morning,

where the stream found a stillness 

and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance



I stood beneath the bridge that took the traffic

and its tension far from me

and found the swimming swan

rising higher in the stream, 

the follow on from the floods that now seem so far

with these skies of blue, speaks of colour

in a park, on a Friday, in February,

where an artist once came to paint



A park, in Paris, on a island, by the Seine 

where the waters wash with colour

when you look beyond the shadows

a new rise basking in the glory of what was once regarded

as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness 



Straight and tall,

shiny structures shoot up, like soldiers, by a stream

ever in movement, ever following the route,

today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign of an age 

the river has outrun


I see trees

towering tall in waters, once rising, now falling,

still strong, still weathering the storm, 

still willing to be remembered, like an artist captures beauty,

captured beauty,

in a park, once, on a Sunday

in a time since parted



Nature is not in our control,

nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,

will not drown in these days of destruction,

will not worry, as we do, will not bend 

but will let life flow around it,

in hope, in harmony



In a park, on a Friday,

on an island, by the river,

in jogging shoes and sweatpants,

I ran through days already distanced

and tried to make connections

between the road winding onwards

and the trees rising upwards, like the water, rushing onwards

like time, ever at play with its participants,

with all that it connects




With benches for the breathless to recapture breaths

and wheels

to help us follow the stream


And in the windows,

I saw reflections

of those towering trees, never to be forgotten,

blue of sky in the beauty of light, light and harmony,

colour and shade,

captured in what is new, a hint of what knows

the bounty of age


And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,

I stopped and saw my reflection

in the gentle waters 

and in the waters saw colour,

colour and light,

by a boat,

in a park,

in a city ever changing,

where an artist came to capture it all

on a Sunday, a simple Sunday. not a Friday but a Sunday,

searching for something between the shadow and light,

between all that will fade and all

that cannot be fazed. 


Over a series of Sundays, in this park, on this island, in Paris, Georges Seurat painted Un Dimanche apres-midi a l’ile de la Grande Jatte. Stephen Sondheim later brought life to the characters within the painting and connections to the artist who died before the world recognised the talent he poured over his canvases in the musical Sunday in the Park with Georges. A few years go I wrote this poem on my first exploration of this little island, less green and more concrete now than in his day, but still with dots of colour and light and harmony…



he saw colour 

in a park, a simple park

on a Sunday, in the summer.


he painted colour 

in that park; clear, considered

untainted, untampered


specs of colour,

rays of light 

in a park 

on a Sunday, in the summer 

in a season of details, in a salon of specifics

under demands to consolidate, co-operate. 


he saw colour,

a canvas of light and colour,

a carnival of colour.


he saw colour 

in a park, on people,

simple people, working people, 

fishing people, fidgeting people

not polished people, not posh people.

They buried him

in a park,

another park, 

a quieter park 

but still with light and colour.

They buried him 

and then they buried his son 

and then another,

life and death, 

father and sons,

children and art,

children or art but only art survived.

He saw colour 

on a Sunday, in a park, on an island, in Paris, 

to the left of it’s center 

and there he made a difference.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


There is a shadow,

like a dream too delirious

to light with language,

whispering more of what swam away

than smears this still water

I trudge through

beIow a bitter moon

that’s made his garden

in this breast of man.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly with the aid of the magnetic poetry oracle



I had you,
for a while, at hello
till I turned out
to be someone
you didn’t know

as the sun set
and the shadows
slipped over uncertainty,
like obscurity
was a form of security
to cover those curt corners
you’ve learned to conceal

instead of trying to heal,

concerns you’ve turned
into crutches,
crushed within stubborn fists
at the end of well worn wrists.

You can clamber
in the scullery,
clap and crash the cutlery

but you cannot drown out
all matter

not all can be washed away
with the dish water.

I cannot be mounded
having, of late,
just unfolded.

I have cracks

like the plates
you are washing,

as if weights
were dissolvable,

as if this liquid fairy
could wipe away
the weary.

I am porcelain;

chipped and torn,
trying to accept
the fragility of this form

still unfolding.

I have stains on my skin
like tattoos of my disorder,

I have shadows on my skin
that will not be kept in a corner.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Audio version available on Soundcloud:


Come the cycle

wild through this dawn

of the daffodil,

I will be a vine in blossom,

a blanketed spring upon the prairie,

a seed of song to follow the frost

and you; the sun

in a season

too sweet for shade.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly with the aid of the magnetic poetry oracle


Last Saturday at 2pm in Ireland, Dublin, in the Phoenix Park, in the shade of a house and in the shadow of a tree in the sunshine, Kevin Bateman gathered together a group of poets for his latest spoken word event ‘I can Dream and You can Love‘ which went out live, as usual, on periscope and every poet was revealed there and then, no pre announcements, no listings of performers beforehand, as is so usual in these days of social media. Kevin indulges ingeniously in the mystery of the moments that unfold when a name is called before the camera rolling and their words fill the air and travel across the skies.

His choices for these locations are often sacred grounds, off the beaten track, forgotten by guide books and now, thankfully, reclaimed as the performances unfold. This last location in the Phoenix park was on the Hill of the Mariners were one of the oldest dolmans in Ireland is located, Knockmaree Dolman. Discovered in the 1800’s, two bodies were found in the tomb which dates back to almost 3500bc and the bodies were suggested to have been sailors, hence the name Hill of the Mariners. Watch the show and you will hear how it took Kevin almost 10 years to find this dolman that has been left to hang beneath a shadow of a tree, in the stillness of the silence, sometimes in the sunshine, often in the shade.

For this event, Kevin gathered 8 poets including himself and you can watch the video which had over 1000 views on Periscope in the first 24 hours of its life. The links below are for Periscope and YouTube.

The poets, who all performed 4 poems, under a theme of love, dreams and the current climate in Ireland, were, in order of appearance;

Kevin Bateman (on Twitter as @Bate_Kevin) drew us into the crime controlled streets of Dublin while leaving us tender with the line ‘…do not let the dead rest in photos, let them move on…’ from his poem A Room of Utter Sadness.


Supriya K Dhaliwal (on Twitter as @supriyadhaliwal) painted for us a cornucopia of Indian colors and tears and whose poem Meet Me in the Morning on No Man’s Land will long linger in my ear as a beacon of hope.


Jasmina Šušić enthralled and captivated us with her raw emotion, passion and her willingness to drop the guard and share her gentle side with We are Soft Animals but Our Hearts are Weak.


I was lucky enough to be invited to perform among these precious talents which made this the first time to ever read my poems in public, to ever read in public! I read 4 poems which you can find here on my blog…

Spelling Peace

Carved In

Salmon Dancers

Wilful in the Wild


Jessica Traynor (on Twitter as @JessicaTraynor6) struck a fire in our historic hearts with her gem of a poem Matches for Rosa, for Rosa Luxembourg and brought us right up to date into an Ireland of today, questioning the right for individual choice with her poem Tender Butchery, my own skin still shivering with the powerful line ‘…the world has no business wearing my skin.’


Catherine Ann Cullen (on Twitter as @tarryathome), along with her ever listening dog,  carried us around the world on the triple spirals of the triskele and took us out and under the harsh waters of homelessness by the Royal Canal in Dublin with her poem entitled Flood, ‘…and they flooded the walkway… so she might float out of sight…’


Eilín de Paor (on Twitter as @edepaor) pulled us in with unexpected treasures found along the way, a nod to lasting impressions still loved though lost and ‘an intimate poem for such an outdoor area’ Island Life where a woman surrenders to ‘…each suckling lap…’ of the first wave of motherhood.


Maeve O’Sullivan ( on Twitter as @writefromwithin) also brought us to India and returned us to Ireland through two bejeweled haiku sequences and grounded the force of an ocean of love in the sonnet Fathomless ‘…the twist of your hair in my knuckled fist…’


Periscope link:

YouTube Link:

Extra photos of the group are curtesy of Harry Browne who can be found on

And you can just see the deer above that was watching over us from the not too far distance…


Where you there, all the time,

I asked myself,

for I have not discovered

the powers of hindsight,

as our words wove

like the wind

around the whispers

the woods were once

witness to?

Where you there all the time,

I asked myself,

in that soft spot of spirit

in the fold of our minds?

I had whispered, along the way,

as feet caressed

the crumbling clay,

as a heart trembled

in a throat that tried not

to tumble through words,

I had wished for a grace

to ground us like that curve

of concrete on the caress

of the mound that grounded

what had once grown tired

into the ground.

You were there, all the time,

I told myself,

as I caught the river

as it cast reflections

of trees rising up

and roots growing down

and I realized

we are not just man,

we are not just the mound

we lay beneath.

We are inseparable,

like these reflections

sinking into the stream,

we are not one, but the other,

not beast or beauty, but both,

finding our way along the water

to a bed to call comfort.

You were there, all the time,

a dear Deer, by a dolman, in Dublin,

listening to our songs

of the living

and the loving

and the dreaming

and the dying

laying our poems

on paths already pressed

while the deer stood and wondered

who would come next?

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Group photograph by Harry Browne who you can find on

On Saturday 17th February 2018 renowned Irish poet Kevin Bateman gathered a group together on sacred ground next to Dublin’s oldest Dolman (even if no one talks about it, advertises it or sign posts it and it took Kevin 10 years to find it), Knockmaree Dolman on the Hill of the Mariners and poetry wound it’s way around the winds in the Phoenix park. I can Dream and You can Love is his latest brainchild and spoken word event and featured the following poets (in order of appearance) Kevin Bateman, Supriya K Dhaliwal, Jasmina Susic, myself, Jessica Traynor, Catherine Ann Cullen, Eilin de Poar and Maeve O’Sullivan.

You can watch the event as it was recorded live on the link below. More details will follow but I have to catch a plane now back to Paris!!

You tube link:

Audio version for this poem available on Soundcloud:



I held on so long to a comfort

stuffed into the curve of my arm,

on nights when no one noticed

the child behind this mask of man.

I held on to a space outdated,

to a void I thought I’d vacated,

crouching into a cramped corner

of considered claustrophobia,

convinced I was more the victor

than the victim

(at times we can be both).

I held on so long to a tear

I thought time had torn but tides

are temperamental, unlike teddies,

they fold back on themselves

and we are swept again under, later,

long after, as if they had waited

to defy expectation

(we are experts at expecting to be the exception).

No one and nothing drowns

in the first wave. All and everything

is a cycle, tides come and go

and then return to take some more.

We are children and then adults

until adults lost in longing,

longing to understand the hold

of the child behind this mask of man.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Winter’s withering winds

rustle through berry’s blossom

in the gentle dawn, falling

on these days of the daffodil.

I walk by wild water

in a world wild of will.

Bloom beneath spring

summer; a blanket beautiful,

seasons are cycles,

sweet that song from seed to stone.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly influenced by the lunchtime magnetic poetry oracle