I never knew
how far I could bend
before I would break

until it snapped
before the sunrise
before the yearning
of the yellow light found me


looking for a lost breath
in the back of a dark chest
I had filled with every worry

that wasn’t mine.

Even an elastic
knows its limit
before it lies limp,

before it cannot recall
its own recovery,
before its tension
rips it from its reason.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

15th poem for NaPoWriMo


17 thoughts on “YELLOW LIGHT

  1. “looking for a lost breath
    in the back of a dark chest
    I had filled with every worry”

    I remember when my younger daughter had panic attacks. . .

    Are you back in Paris? I just heard about Notre Dame. 😦

    • They are not the most comfortable situations to go through and I’m hoping they are not intending on staying for too long. Although it’s already been quite some time. Thankfully talking, therapy, breathing, writing, breathing, cooking, breathing and trying to finally do what is best for me and me alone are all things that are going to help! 🤞

      Yes, I am back in Paris and sitting in shock right now watching the news.
      And Easter week too. It’s incredible. 20 years ago, during the first part of my life in Paris, every night I went past Notre Dame in a taxi and reminded myself, every single night, to look out the window and gaze upon the cathedral and not forget how lucky I was to see it every day, every night as I carved out a tiny life in this iconic city of magic and madness. And now…

      • Aww—hugs, Damien. I hope the panic disappears entirely. I don’t know what to say about Notre Dame. Another hug for you. It just seems so unbelievable that it’s existed since the 12th century? And gone through revolution and wars, but now burns when they’re restoring it?

      • Thank you Merril, it’s been a tough 9 months or so but I intend to make changes for the better. To catch that breath!
        That’s the thing for Notre Dame, it survived so much; the revolution, both wars, occupation, terrorist attacks to arrive to this!?! The Rose of Paris lost just as spring arrives. They are saying the external structure is intact but so much has been lost that was so important to so many.

      • Yes, I just saw that the structure has been saved, but you are right that so much is lost. I hope they’re be able to rebuild it. It won’t be the same, but still. And I have confidence that you will catch that breath!

      • I’m crying here. It’s stupid. I didn’t like Notre Dame, hated the crowds of chattering tourists and thought some of the other Gothic cathedrals were more attractive, but I used to walk past it twice a day on my way to and from work. My children were born at the Hotel Dieu opposite. I used to go in for a rest on the way to work when I was pregnant. It’s HISTORY merde!

      • Even if you didn’t like it it became the backdrop to your life, the births of your children, a place to find a seat on occasion. It’s as much a part of the city as the Seine, the arrogance, the Tour Eiffel. One without the others doesn’t seem possible

      • I can’t believe it. The work, the love that those artisans put into that work of art, up in flames. I was going to write something, opened the doc where I note down bits of French poetry and find the first words: Ce soir ça brûle…

      • I was listening to them talking about the impossibility of reconstructing the charpente as there just aren’t any trees that size in existence. They used primeval forest trees in the twelfth century, all long gone now. It’s the history of the planet that has gone.

  2. I can feel the tension in your words. My daughter too went through a period of panic attacks but she seems to have come out on the other side. Therapy definitely helped.

    I am so sad, shock, yes, that’s the right word. History yes, but something even more that there are no words for. This will take a long time to process. I can’t imagine how it feels for you. (K)

    • Thank you Kerfe. I am glad to hear your daughter is doing better now. Patience, understanding and breathing are my favourite tools right now, that and baking cake!
      It is astounding. It’s the backdrop of the city, as I said to Jane, whether you liked it or not, it was inescapable. It still is of course and still will be but watching it last night… you’re right, there are no words.

  3. One of our “opposites” Dami. I don’t have experience of this but it sounds hideous and I might suffer it too if I was cooped up in an urban environment. Sounds like you’re healing and working it out – I hope that’s the case and all I can do is encourage you to take courage, and I can be one of the many who cheer you on! BTW I was shocked to hear about Notre Dame too and immediately thought about you. Hugs from far-away!

    • Thanks for the kindness and hugs Liz. The panic will find its way out eventually, just the minds way of telling my body its time to stop and take stock and do a little nurturing of my own and be less worried about what others think of me and listen to how I feel.
      Last night was so bizarre. There thankfully was no loss of life, so it wasn’t a mourning but a sense of the impossible becoming possible. History being lost on front of our eyes. Thankfully the reports coming out today suggest that much of the interior has also been saved. I heard a woman on the news last night saying ‘that’s it, it’s gone, you can’t rebuild it, it’s done, over!’ A man beside her adamantly say ‘no, we rebuild, exactly as it was, it’s our history and we can’t let it go.’ Interesting opposites.

      • The Christchurch Cathedral was the heart of Christchurch and after the earthquake the debates, the different views, were very intense. I didn’t follow it but as far as I know they’re going to rebuild. So difficult for all involved and my heart goes out to all of you who are affected.

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