Father ate all the flowers
in the back garden
because he couldn’t swallow
the promise of happiness
that bloomed within the home
he couldn’t find his root within.
Father left all the flowers
in the front garden,
too proud for others to see
him pulling from the soil
everything he needed help with
but had never been taught the words.
Father liked to laugh, first,
when others lost,
so no one could hear his own loss
tearing at him, like weeds twisting
behind the restraints he wore
like his inside out jumpers
and tattered brown trousers
he thought no one could see through.
Father ate all the flowers
in the shadows
of the back garden
and choked on a laugh
that no one understood.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

13th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

Published by deuxiemepeau

Published poet, writer, baker and former fashion maker, with footprints in Paris, London and Amsterdam but currently back home in Dublin with sights aimed at leaving a mark on the West coast one clear fine day...


    1. It’s so true. All that is black and white to a child has so many deeper shades as you grow into an adult and realize how difficult it can be to find your way, your identity, your voice. 🤗

  1. Time does help to see the bigger picture, it’s true. But don’t you find there’s always the nagging void of what could have been but wasn’t? I find so many contradictions in my memories of my father, even in the emotions that I feel. I used to feel torn apart by it all but more recently since chatting with you and Jake, I feel much more at peace – like a lot of things in my head have been resolved. I used to feel so much on my own but sharing with you guys has helped so much. I guess I just want to say thanks Dami, for your open-ness and for our conversations.

    1. What a beautiful message Liz, it is always a pleasure corresponding with you, I think we are both teaching each other how to cope with what has been and to live for what is.
      These are so many ‘what could have been’ moments that it sometimes catches your breath and grabs hold of your chest but what has happened also created the things that followed; the wonderful moments and meetings, so to go back and change the past would also change everything and all that we now hold precious would be lost. We cannot go back but we can hold on to a hope that one day peace will reside in the place of pain or doubt. We cannot know everyone completely but time often allows distance to bring an understanding of what was and helps us appreciate what now is. There are just time we need to remember how to breath deeply and then release it.
      Huge hugs 🤗

    1. Thanks Shuku, I guessing I’m trying to talk about the flowers and the confusion instead of just swallowing it to pretend it doesn’t exist. Trying to learn 🤞🤗

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