I recall
when you were loutish
in the school yard
and I was fair game-
light footed fairy
in search of darker corners,
a sun should never shine
at the shit end of any storm
or abandon fear until
he’s felt the blow of a fist.
I was light
and you miscreant monster
of middle school as those ever so
illustrious teachers took fag breaks
behind the bike sheds-
resolute to be as rebellious
as the boneheaded brats
who ran the school.


All words by Damien B. Donnelly

Inspired by a Twitter Poetry Prompt



I remember you, growing older,
how your skin adapted- as if it had grown in the garden
on the branch of the rhododendron.

Shiny it was, with lines that time had tempered into it,
ever so carefully, like you tempered peace into our panic,
stillness into our hast, serenity into our cacophony.

The leaf, always that single leaf of our lives, never wanting
to be the blush of the flower, just the leaf- always under, in support.

New leaves, like weathered skin, sprout slowly from aging bark,
a soft beauty between the bramble and briar,
between being the wife, the mother and the grandmother.

Today, I tended the garden- mum’s garden now,
your garden once when we were but shoots and you- the whole tree,

and I remembered you

and the slow shuffle of slippered feet and those grand cardigans
that wrapped their comfort across the curve of your back,
that bowed like a branch to reach us all the better.

I recalled your skin that had grown a line for each of us,
a connection to catch hold of, to come back to, those kids we once were
with spotless skins life had yet to mark, always eager to explore

while knowing how to find our way back
and the one who would be waiting on her stool, by the widow,
in the kitchen, in the sunlight, pealing and baking, baking and pealing
to the tune of the radio and the whirl of the twin tub

waiting for one of us to find our way home.

I remember you, as you grew older, today and every other day.


All words by Damien B. Donnelly


Today is my Grandmother’s 12th anniversary. She now grows in the garden of the hearts of her family.  




Mum tells of no moon tonight, as if it’s been lost,
as if the darkness will never rise and the sun will weep
at the thought of never catching another break.

We cut an apple tree in the back shadow of the front garden
yesterday but left the root, to remind it, perhaps, of how to return.
Should I have done the same for the moon? Left a calling card
of flagrant fondness for its fine form- a white blemish
on the blank canvas of that all-consuming blackness.

I never liked starting out on white, far too much choice
of where to place the blemish of the first brushstroke
but black… black is where you paint a Pollock.

I refuse to admit we’ve seen the last of the heaven’s eye-
Eden didn’t forsake us- it was the kids who grew bored of it.

The ground trembles underfoot, even here, beneath this house,
the roots are rummaging below the earth and their bloom
will be a full moon that some of us will not be able to see
and the rest will be unable to correctly comprehend it.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly



I shouted at the TV last week, beyond the stilled fields
recently ploughed of their prize, where now we wait
and watch for new seeds where hope was replanted.
I stopped to moo last week as you bellowed back at us
from the not-so-stilled screen in our isolated living room-

you’d be going to the pub;

One must support the landlords, you said, not everyone, of course
but some of us must do our bit, you said, on This Morning,
with Phil and Holly and Vanessa, now back on Virgin.

I roared like a farmer, last week, who’d lost control
of an old Bull, still so convinced of his shiny cock
and bull tales the Union had regaled since 1845.

We recall what failed us once with every filled plate
that passes our table now, while you bury yourself
in the Best of Bull, keeping up with the Hancocks’-

down the pub with balls forward and brain resting
derriere where you happily placed the Irish, once,
when we were nothing but dying boats running west

from cold hands in the east.

I shouted at the tv last week and yesterday, I asked;
Did you take your son to the pub too, that night after the sofa,
after the stinking bull broke free from the paddock,
all horny but headless; hiding all the fear, all the silage,

in the face of the ripe old rot of the best of British.

Yesterday, they announced the Young Bull at No.10
was poorly. How’s the beer taste now, Old Bull?

PS, the PM ain’t no monument to immortality.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



In a fat box by the skinny bed
in a dusty room rarely regarded
covered clumsy with crushes
are the contents of a childhood-
lost letters of love- all penned
but never posted & cut-outs
of pin-ups next to wrist bands
friends twisted & time forgot.

In a lost room fallen to dust
hope was a cradle of comfort
in this box her father opened
when she failed to come back

from a war she never wanted.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Written as part of the Cobh Writers and Readers #PoetryPrompt featured on Twitter. Do drop by and join in the creative distraction. @CobhWR



is no compliment to the current.
Curls come and crash without care,
you cannot keep an ocean contained
in a single cup.
‘I hurl this wave
with the weight of a thousand stones’ she sighs
and slips back out as clouds come to commend.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Written as part of the Cobh Writers and Readers #PoetryPrompt featured on Twitter. Do drop by and join in the creative distraction. @CobhWR




This Desert where We Drowned the Dance

pertaining to a particular sound
at the back of the mouth, there,
in that spot not quite reachable,
still quite parched.

to sprinkle, to moisten. I do this
to quench a longing I can’t reach
though I cannot hold this liquid
just like I couldn’t retain the lips
that once kissed this neck, here
where throat was left parched.

processing or exhibiting energy
in abundance, like I had before
your truth got twisted, before
all your charming turned into
that drought which buried us
while you left me;


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Written as part of the Cobh Writers and Readers #PoetryPrompt featured on Twitter. Do drop by and join in the creative distraction. @CobhWR



Far we have come from the gardens of wild roses.
Here, by this river running home to waiting wave
we stop and take turns tipping toes into the tide.

What if all we touched was troubled?
What if all the gold no longer bought

the glory?

Far we have come from the kingdom of wild roses.
Here, by these tides running out to open ocean
we stop and call the current to cast away the curse.


All words and photographs and bread by Damien B. Donnelly 

Inspired by the #PoetryPrompt ‘Midas’ on Twitter from the #PoetInResidence Catherine Anne Cullen at @PoetryIreland



Sea claims what man can no longer cradle
but time’s tales can be freed from nasty nets
when the wreck is beyond want, when the cable
has been cut and we come to the call of the current.
Rough becomes rust becomes wrecked becomes ruin,
might becomes memory. Day is done but night unfolds
tales of tides that were tamed, slim seas that harboured
heavy hopes in trusted holds. We dive and then differ
on the return, are undone, unmasked, back to bone-
a battered beauty, once a witness to the wild waves.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Written as part of the Cobh Writers and Readers #PoetryPrompt featured on Twitter. Do drop by and join in the creative distraction. @CobhWR