THE SHADOW OF LIGHT

 

Light
is changeable.
Can be changed.
Exchanged.

We cut down stress
in the back garden of our woes,
in the back garden so neighbours
cannot see our fears spread out
across the lawn.

We stew it out
in solitude so we can shine later
after the dust has found its antidote,
after the touch is again tolerable,
after the new grass grows over
these rotten weeds.

Exchanged.
Can be changed.
Light is changeable.

We sit,
this evening,
in the late light of the kitchen
behind the glass partition
and watch the sunset.

Its last light
changing everything it touches

into shadow.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

THORNS

 

I climb trees to forlese the briar and catch the soil
from this bird’s eye view, but my sight is not the same
as sad sparrow so I cannot see if something is stirring
in the rat race below and yet said sparrow can spot
the worm before he enters up into the air
from the earth.

I rub oil, later, over scrapped skin and curse nature
for its thoughtless thorn as I catch a reflection
of Anxious staring out from eyes that cannot see
the thorn of these times. Perception is paramount
to understanding, visible is half the battle, blindness
is not just bound to sight.

I can climb trees and cut thorns but I cannot fly
from this place while erratic dust wiggles like worms
through air I try not to inhale.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Based in a Twitter Poetry Prompt 

FIESTA, EST-CE QUE CE MONDE EST SERIEUX

 

Hemingway loved the bull, both the beast and the shit-
the bravado of animal instinct bared on horny streets
in the heat, caught up, breathless, in the chase-
the Aficionado on fire, at the Fiesta, those buen hombres
who always knew how to get a room in a hotel
with nothing left to rent

and that other artist, galloping
for his freedom through the fearless fools
in the sweltering sun, under crowded balconies
but the crowd knew the clause, freedom was not his prize
at the end, after the gallop, inside the ring as the rocket roared
and the costumes and cape commenced.

Hemingway loved the bull…

‘Sentir le sable sous ma tête c’est fou comme ça peut faire du bien,
j’ai prié pour que tout s’arrête, Andalousie je me souviens…’

Lyrics from ‘La Corrida’ by Francis Cabrel

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

ADAPTION

 

Things change.

Sunday morning I rise,
though with no rolling stone miracle,
and thread footsteps into the field
where the passage of daisies have taken over
from the pressing soles of sport.
Things change.

Later, in cream pants
and oversized sofa sweater instead of the customary
suited and booted parade affair,
I drop smoked salmon into foamy scrambled eggs
and break fresh baked bread
in the golden glow of the newer kitchen
grown over old land
and think of all the loaves and fishes
that some don’t have to share
or the glow or the land or even a kitchen.
Things change.

Later still,
so much stillness amid all the disturbances,
I shower stale sweat off confined skin
and then snack on corn cakes
instead of Easter eggs
and pull strung-up chicken
from the fridge to stuff its belly with herbs-
to decorate the day with a scent
of something familiar
amid all this change.

Things change.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

IN THE PLACE OF WHAT ONCE STOOD

 

Robin rummages in the rushes,
upon rock she roots out traces
of all that once was, tuts at all
that has changed and all that hasn’t.

Robin rummages in the rushes,
bright spark- but fast to flight.
She comes to call and comprehend
but never comes when she is called.

A fluttering of fine feathers
on front of old familiar fields
where the tracks have been pulled,
where all prints have been ploughed

but there are marks, still- fine folds
where the grass leans in, just so,
in suggestion of what once stood
in its way, of what once stood

in the field, beyond the rushes,
just a recall beyond the rock
where robin comes to rummage.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

IN BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE SLEEPING

 

Packed like yams into dusty carriages
we watch from the safety of our sitting room
where Nana used to sit and iron by the table
and Pop, in the corner, with his pipe,
now just names in prayer and that picture
of their wedding on a wall that still stands
and they, long taken to the sleep.

We sit in all this space while passengers
are packed like sandwiches in tin tubs,
trains swapping stations and germs
on the Underground, over the water
where I used to live, once, when nana
was still ironing and Pop, already sleeping.
I was happy then, I think, I tell myself,
I played happy at times, hilarious
and happy little me in Hampstead,
back stage, behind the spotlight
and considering the distance
I’d covered and the sitting room,
the sofa, the Nana and the Pop.

We watch from that sitting room,
now, with its ceiling since lowered
so the heat stays closer to the body-
the only contact we’ll consider-
she on the sofa and me- single armchair
for single boy returned home as man
and now kept home in quarantine,
in close quarters, two grown-ups
counting the money they cannot spend
and watching lives unfold on the telly
after playing clean-up in the garden
and looking to the trees for carvings
of connections since taken to the sleep.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

GOOD DAY

 

They call it Good Friday, Mum initiates
the conversation early for fish and chips
and somewhere, not far from subconscious,
I near a church and its pressure leaning in
on her sudden sway for the taste of something
fishy, less meaty, today, on this Good Friday
where tales tell of salt and vinegar and the smell
of soft flesh drying out in the heat of a distant
desert. Later, I flick through photographs-
some West Coast sass, where Mormons saw palms
stretched out in prayer, there, where the cactus
have hard skins and hollow centres to hold
the tears of this dying desert where succulents
send signals to the stars while Joshua, tired
of being seen solely as salvation, has blown
a balloon into the hot air to catch for himself
a better view of how the river lies, here,
where every day is a good day or a bad day
or both or neither and no one talks about
what to eat, only that food is a gift and death
makes way for life and nature can have
soft centres to harbour hope while its shell
dries in the heat of an endless summer
and holds beauty in the pierce of every pine
that stabs its skin during the unlimited
possibilities of goodness in every single day.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

 

ART ISN’T EASY

 

Colour
catches on canvas as we lean towards light,
a beam to break the boredom like a breath
above the water after diving up from darkness,
ripples run across the current,
ink spreads out like veins upon this page;

art isn’t easy, breathing isn’t any better-

both come up from down below,
rise through risk into life, into looking lively.
The texture of the wave is as temperamental
as the tone that sets itself out upon the page.
I dab the brush, horse hair taps connections
and colour comes at a gallop. It is clear-

control is not concerned with the creator.

This body needs air, runs broken, breathless-
breath and then less and less and less
and sometimes, sometimes I need to turn back

and teach the lungs how to draw. In.

Ink dries and petals stand, enchanting time
with their dismission of the word wilt.
Colour catches on canvas, clear and captured
and I lean in with the hope of drawing fresh
breath before the dive recalls me to paint
panic.

   

All words and paintings by Damien B. Donnelly

TIPS FOR CLEANING UP

 

I saw a jellyfish once, just beyond the tide,
a tick away from time’s reach where it couldn’t sting.

On the same beach, once, though years later,
as we dipped our desires below the moonlight,
I lost your ring.

A week later I found your sting was laying in other beds.

I thought love was less abundant then, before I left,
before I found Paris and perished slightly under its pretensions

though I never shivered at that time or in the water,

not that time with the jellyfish, or later,

when that base metal that would never become gold
freed itself from my finger.

I cast you all off later, after, when Paris passed
and I set off to chase bland blond hairs
through the dunes the Dutch had recalled from the sea.

I agree that I have worn many rings since then
but not one of them have drowned me-

I always pick one size bigger so it slips off
without leaving too much of a mark.

I think that’s why I like salads-
chopped lettuce, some pulses and a breast of chicken-

they don’t take much cleaning up, afterwards.
However, the French, as a rule,
never cut through salad, on their plate, in public.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Inspired by a Twitter Poetry Prompt 

BUDS OF INVINCIBILITY

 

Notes multiply under an orange blossom moon.

We pour music into cups and songs sprout
from rose trees that have yet to bend towards the bud
while daisies turn noisy in the far field as the grass
orchestrates the dawn’s chorus and petals tremble
in the wake of all that once shivered in the stillness.

Clouds melt like warm snow beneath our imagination.

We wear it like candy and when we eat it we grow giddy
and gravity gives way to the illusion that we too
can rise from this heavy earth, drowning dust blazing
a distance into our trail as we pat the sun with our smiles
and that orange moon melts into a melody we can taste
on our tongues while our weary eyes close, for a while,
in a slumber the angles have created to cradle our chaos.

Notes multiply in back gardens where invincible comes
to conquer all that needs distance and all that is disease.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

 

Inspired by a Twitter Poetry Prompt