Lanterns are tied around hope like we twist naivety
around the truth, like we twist around arms as if
we can strangle more comfort out of complacent,
the need to hold onto something regardless if fragility
is tied to a breeze we cannot keep at bay. Winds
are blowing in the northern skies while the breath
is held on these southern sands where freedom
is more reachable. This half has not forgotten
what it was to be a whole. Plato said we were split
in two, cast off towards a constant search
for the other half of that whole that is now a hole.
We curve around carvings time will not release,
we twist and turn through roots the soil has long
shown the light, we rise and fall to rise again
where treetops bow towards a beauty, untampered,
where tiny birds breathe life into wings at the will
of the wind, fragile creatures who know our fragility.
We sit and share food and smile at this simplicity
bowing under tended wood on mountain sloops
time has taught to be tender. We are reflections,
fleeting through finite flickers, we court each spark
hoping for a chance to be brighter than before,
hoping to be carved into something as lasting
as these rocks. We still dig despite the doubt,
lighting lanterns tethered to a half hope, half held,
ignoring how light the light that remains. We smile
when asked our opinion, a unity of north and south,
there is no answer, this is only a circus of showmen
blowing out their balls and so we bow out and tie
our own hopes to the bark of a branch of a tree
that has seen the whole and stood strong over the time
that dug out the hole. We are circles struck in two,
massaging our fractured diameter in case it will one day
be the position of a joint. And another lantern is lit.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Lanterns from the Bulkuk Temple, Gyeongju, South Korea

300 year old tree with paper wishes from the Hahoe Folk Village, Angdong, South Korea

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



2 thoughts on “HALF OF THE WHOLE

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