Fans open like a chest catching air,
clouds sweep the mountain like a bellow baying,
colour is just a caress away from grey,
a breath can be unbearable if the body is breaking,
a cloud is a cup of rain not fully considered.
We climb over mountains to where the air is lighter
and prayer almost a palpable palace of peace,
the sky comes down to press its fragility upon our flesh.
‘Even a storm can break,’ I hear the wind whisper,
‘see how the roof slopes; you can only put so much weight
upon a single structure.’
I stand below a giant bell, its ring rung out
but it’s echo is like a yellow earthquake;
still rippling along the fans of these red roofs.
It is not over just because the earth stops shaking,
we still tremble, long after, and carry in our veins
the fleshed tattoos of how the web once caught us,
like an old map of one country now torn into a fear and a freedom.
Fans open, another echo, another cloud comes down, comes closer.
Take smaller steps, don’t miss out,
don’t outrun the rivers of colour in this drying earth,
the clouds that will, once again, pour like a fountain over fragile flesh,
don’t miss the bellow that will roar a fresh breath into battered body
in this land so still with movement, still moving,
still sacred, sacred and still and silent and wise and wonderful
and singing out over the silence for more and more and…
‘Even a storm can break,’ she said,
even something as strong as a storm can eventually break.
All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. Photographs taken at the Beomeosa Temple in Busan, South Korea, June 2018.