And when they danced
she would hold him, her
perfume by his face, his
hands as her strength
as they waltzed through
their current as the tides
swept the shore, through
love and labour, to the first born,
still born, through the twins
who stopped the tears
and the girls who tied
the bows as the sands slipped
through time and the pace
became a quick step, through
the hands that held and those
hips that swayed through
the melody they were making
as they danced through
waves of washing houses
into homes, children into
strangers; rarely calling
and barely remembering
but on they danced as red
locks swept into silver strands,
as full head turned to bald head
on an older head as they turned
to the music now made
in the memory, till she left him,
finally, one morning in May,
as he rose to the sunlight but
she had lost to the moonlight
and so he built her an alter
of sea shells and sentiments
and now he turns, alone, across
the sands still slipping,
as the stars plot a path for him
to reach her in eternity.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From the poetry series A Month with Yeats



Oh child, sweet child, sleeping so
beneath these big shoes and ties
knotted to a life of change and choice,
but we had to run, had to keep going,
didn’t we have grow up so quickly;
stand up, show up, give up, pay up.
Oh child, sleeping child, so sweet
beneath this bitter battle we must wade
through, the waves come not solely
on the current, not timely like the tides
but in the solitude, in the silence
we thought to be a comfort, I feel you
twist through the dreams you still dream,
that I have lost hold of, that I have let
slip from a grasp now older, less bolder.
But you, dear child, sweetly sleeping
as I make movements meant to be manly,
meaning to be mature, how I hear
your voice, amid the louder, broader,
vulgar tones beyond the preying
playgrounds of concrete corporations
and communal conformity, yours
so soft and gentle amid the riots
and the roars, yours so soothing
amid all that is smothering. I see you
too sometimes, in the mirror, briefly,
a spark of what was once a projection, now
but a reflection; wide eyed
and hearty of hope, I see you, laughing
at my troubles, calling me to come play,
to see the adventure in the danger,
to see the impermanence of these little
interruptions that come a calling.
Oh child, sweet child who painted
pictures to make the grey days
more grand, who penned poems
to let the pain find its place to perish
on the page instead of in the person.
Oh child, sleeping child of my youth,
how much I still have to learn from you.


All words by Damien B Donnelly. School photo aged possibly 5.

From the series A Month With Yeats



A starlit day,
on a distant shore,
as if summer had sent it
swarming like a snowflake;
silken wings to summon the sunset,
a white moth to raise a sweet soul
And there,
as a star was added,
the bright moon was kissed
in berry blush as the sun settled
beneath the lake where the lost trout
turned through tresses of silver dancing
and he smiled at his love, since lost,
now glimmering
in eternity.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is from the series A Month with Yeats




We cannot truly change that which
we are, we cannot really laugh louder,
be brighter, stay longer than our journey
has already jotted down in a journal
whose language is not our own.
We cannot truly change the air,
the ocean, the fire that forges its way
through us, leaving us inspired
or expired, hot or just overheated.
We cannot truly change much
but we can cast corrections
into the darkness caught in corners,
we can see sages that hover over heads
if we need to add meat to the monotony,
singing songs of stories never too old
to be retold, never too new to be anything
more than necessary.
We cannot truly change that which
we are, we cannot promise to hold
any longer than time allows us,
we are tied to the tension of the knot
that knows more than we do,
whose heart lays on a hinge
that hangs both the hope
and the hammer. We cannot truly
change much but we can learn to listen
to lips that have lingered, that have
laughed in the face of lies
and been nourished by the face
of the fortunate who found favour
with who they were and then substance
in the soft stream of steady words.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From the series A Month with Yeats






The brighter man, the lighter man,
the darker truth, the deeper vein,
bind me to the rough, the real man,
I beat as a bat.
The clearer glass, elusive glass,
the broken bed, the better lay,
tie me to the rider, all night,
I beat like a bat.
The gentle rose, considered rose,
the troubled torn, the rotting root,
plant me in the wild field, riled field,
I beat as a bat.
The sweetest light, the sun light
the witching hour, the darkest night,
pitch me in the rainstorm, windstorm,
I beat like a bat.
The house plant, the tendered plant,
the raging bark, the twisted branch,
nature’s not calm, not quiet, nor I;
I beat as a bat.
An angel rises to heaven’s skies,
bats hang downside, looking inside,
teach me what’s inside, light the dark side,
I’ll see like a beating bat.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is one of the poems from the A Month with Yeats series


The Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre, on Westmoreland Street, Dublin, across from Trinity College, currently has a thoughtfully touching exhibition of the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) entitled Listen Now Again. On the wall, next to his poem The Rainstick sits an actual rain stick which you can turn and listen to the rain fall or whatever drifts into your mind’s ear. This is what I heard…


Recalling the Rainstick

I turn the stick
And hear the rain fall.
There are whispers
In its movements
And there,
Betwixt it all;
the echo of your words.


Words by Damien B Donnelly. Photographs from the exhibition ‘Listen Now Again’



Water catches light
Like I once reached out
To catch a wave
Along this same stretch of water,
This same cosy current of canal
That has slowed, now,
Like my footsteps,
Like my stokes;
Coming back on the bend,
Finding favour
In the freshness
Of all that was once familiar,
Letting go of the longing
To swap steady stream
For seductive sea,
Finding comfort, now,
In the light
I’ve already swam in.
Settling back now,
Sitting down,
Watching the waters
Carefully caress that light.


All words and photograph by Damien B Donnelly

Photo taken earlier this week along the banks of the Grand Canal, Dublin, opposite the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design where I studied and dreamed of the future over 24 years ago.


The breath is stilled, life is sea and sky bound in a blanket
of both current and cloud, moments are just
impressions, reflections of all that has fallen
and all that floats on the future’s feather;
a fragile fluttering to
the left of frame.
Still is
the breath,
thoughts unfurl;
curls of creamy consciousness,
there is darkness, floating, certainly,
but peal it back and there is light lingering
in an unconsciousness we have yet to caress

with consideration.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly



Like a whisper
tissue is painted with purpose,
silk spun from crisp cuts,
white scented with sapphire
parading into Prussian
(fragile of frame and filigree),
like a thought
an image opens, a petal unfolding,
shades seep into substance
as the edges fade
(how quickly we fall to forgetful)
light, liquid, linger, a little longer.
Thoughts tied in twists of emerald
simplicity on a simple stand,
in a liquid light
and the memory leans in.

We are more fragile
than we know.

We could be more lasting
but only time will tell.

Not everything will linger
on after our whispers
fall to a fade…


All words and photographs y Damien B. Donnelly

This is a Repost