I saw a heart of metal encase a heart since stilled
on a pillow of white purity, precious protected
in a glass case, without a key and I wondered
how far people would go to protect themselves?

I have never known how to cut glass carefully
nor cared to consider a case for this organ
which I offer up without consideration itself.

I’ve never known how to restrain the beats
that slip out from under this skin and there are
times where I can barely catch my own breath.

I do not own the rhyme nor rule any ripple
that rises up after the fates have been flung.

I climb over volcanoes instead of into cases
and tremble above shores too pure to sit upon.

I have not come to lay love lightly upon a pillow.

I leap off burning cliffs with even sharper edges
in the call of amour, not the encasement of armour.

I have been made merrily of these immeasurable
mistakes with an abhorrence to metallic restraints.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph from Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, of the encasement of the heart of Lorcán Ua Tuathail (1128 / 1180) who became Saint Laurence O’Toole, Patron Saint of Dublin.

6 thoughts on “I CLIMB VOLCANOES

  1. merrildsmith

    To love wildly seems a better gift, and worthwhile, than to encase a heart and never let its wild beating out to soar.

    I’m glad you captioned the photo–I was extremely curious! 🙂

  2. Mike Powell

    To be bold or to be secure? It’s an eternal dilemma. Risk? Reward? It’s safer to hide behind a mask, protecting yourself from being hurt again, but is safer better? Your beautiful words, Damien, raise all of these questions and more. Boldness comes with a perilous price, but perhaps it is more than worth the cost.

    1. deuxiemepeau

      I think the bolder option may have been the brighter adventure, looking back. Going forward, I think I only have what I learned and that was… jump

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