It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This years theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…

Better Bottles

In the shadows
not yet departed
from former students
since departed,
confined in Parisian compartments
the Polish left to the Irish,
red vinegar wine
(as vulgar as the vultures
who drowned in its deluge)
caught itself in corners
still not drunk
by the blow-ins
still bleating
about the burnt beef
and sodden soil
as we made smoke chains
in our simple chambres
to choke a distance
between the homes we had left
and the hands that hadn’t
yet let us go. We may have been
from the same barrel born
but we, in truth, had desires
to be labelled in a better bottle.


All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly

BETTER BOTTLES for Poetry Day Ireland

5 thoughts on “BETTER BOTTLES for Poetry Day Ireland

  1. As soon as I saw the mention of Poles I thought of the Irish College. The Poles were there in my day, a right stand-offish bunch. And holy. This brings it all back. I wonder if Declan the artist was still hiding in one of the rooms when you were there?

    • I love that I lived in the shadow of your Parisian life. The Irish college was very irish when I was there, ( the Irish who hated France and the French and only lived in Irish bars that looked and felt nothing like a bar in Ireland ) the poles had since fled, but I remember the scary French receptionist, getting a chip coin to do the laundry required practically kneeling and begging! Oh, the memories of those early days!

      • The receptionist wasn’t still Judith from Cavan was it? She seemed more sophisticated and glamorous than scary at the time. I can actually imagine her making you beg for a jeton though. She had a thing about keys. The châtelaine complex. It’s a heart-warming sort of thought that you were there too, though long after me. I didn’t have time to get up there after about 93.

      • No, we had Didier who also had a thing about keys and those damned jetons and never spoke a word of English while working in the Irish college. Although he did wear black trousers, black slip on shoes and white socks (looked like he might have been from Cavan, sorry Cavan- cheap shot from a Dubliner 🤭) I only arrived in ‘98 and got out very very soon after

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s