Did we smile at each other, at least, at all,
before the bond broke that day, that morning,
after the dawn rose in all its innocence,
imperceptive of how it would part us,
ignorant of the virtue you’d lost
and the sadness it would cost.

And did you feel the judgment of the shadows?

Did I know you at all, that day, at least, back then,
in the thin thread of time that we borrowed briefly,
in that deceiving dawn that polluted the promise
of the morning’s light as so-called Elders
counted constantly the limited hold we had
over each other, over the past, on the pain.
You, bleeding fresh in convent bed and I;
still too ignorant to the wounds of this world
and the life we could have had.

And did you notice how they judged in the shadows?

I wonder, if in your crying, and I’m sure that you cried,
did your tears caress my face, in all that wasteful
wailing and wrenching, baby was born
and little girl grown, did the pain erupt
and submerge us, did the situation swallow us in,
stirring the sorrows of a too-soon mother
in the birth of a so-called sin.

And did we hear those judging in the shadows?

Did you ache afterwards, alone, without me,
after the morning crippled all connection,
did you ache all alone, in that room without me
after your sacrifice that saved me,
do you understand the gift that you gave me?
Your body that housed me, month after month,
amid the swelling and stares, the jeering and sneers.

While all the world judged you from the shadows.

Did it change you, at all, that day, that time
in that place of penance and prayers,
in that sacrificial suffering, in that final goodbye,
in that giving up, in that letting go, in the loss
that followed too quickly from our very first hello.
Do you feel me still, at all, after all, on holidays
and birthdays, when babies cry and mothers run
do you wonder that happened to your little baby son?
Do you remember us today, right now, as we were
so long since our separation, so deep in separate lives,
in ignorant oblivion and an opposite direction
since the hands of this world pulled us apart,

since the judgment of the world forced us apart?


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Sculpture by Rodin

This is a repost


  1. memadtwo

    I’m sure your thoughts and feelings are entwined somewhere.
    Even now those judgments are made. But there’s more support if you resist. Back then there was none–those women were alone with their emotions.

    1. deuxiemepeau

      So true, such a lonely time for these women, sometimes just girls, such a painful situation where you had no right, no voice and no one to talk to afterwards, no comfort, no help, no therapy.

    1. deuxiemepeau

      Thank you Alison. The older I get, the more I question the shadows and judgement I was born into. There is much to question though no one to ask but maybe one day, i will be able to ask someone why, where, what happened before and after

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