Here now, flown back to nest since moved in absence,
these streets hold no shadows of my former shyness,
they do not call me by nickname, or your name.
I was never open enough then to be called by your name,
their name, his name, back then when there was no him
and barely a me.
Here now, back to where they began, before me-
their nests, their streets, their lanes, their stories
I’ve since borrowed, not knowing much of my own,
those told before me.
Funny now, to be here, in this nest, perched on this position,
you say it’s home and there’s truth in those words
but it’s like saying we’re family- this was never my home
and our blood is not the same.
We look out at the same land, the same tree, the same leaf
but we do not perceive the same stars at night
when the garden is gone and the universe asks
where did you come from?
We are what we believe. We come back to what we know
regardless of where we’ve been, of who we’ve become.
Of where we started. Adoption can be a cold word
to begin with.
I came from a broken shot off cupid’s bow where a single tear
flooded the moonlight as a siren screamed and one other,
lost to her first song, called out for another chance to hold
a snowflake in her hands. We were both born to sing
in seasons different to our own.
I came back on a wing’s turn to question the concept
of a nest, of where feather first found flight, I came back
older, taller, wiser, to look at youth from this odd angle
of middle age, to look at connection from the perspective
of having already left the nest, to sit, here now, in this garden
freshly trimmed down and cast this bird’s eye view
over where the roots were first planted
and who laid the first twig.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


3 thoughts on “ORIGINAL SONGS

  1. When we had a walk y’day I talked with Nigel about how your poems often discuss identity, how I’ve been thinking about that. My parents have both passed away and I don’t feel or seek closeness with my other family. I actually feel like an outlier. Right now I’m more interested in the miniscule amount of Irish via my mum and treasure that more than anything. It’s interesting in your poem where you say “We are what we believe”, and that’s exactly along the lines of what I discussed with Nigel y’day. Perhaps identity can be what we choose to identify with. And Nigel got my drift – he especially values his Romany connection via his mum.

    • Irish Romany NewZealander- we all find our place I guess but it takes time to see where you fit and how it feels. I think being adopted gives that extra bit of freedom perhaps to feel you have the right to explore and find yourself. I have no problem being adopted and have always known but it gives an extra ability to believe in what we want- am I different because I am adopted; no but is there something there to question and write about- it seems so. Happy walking and talking you lovelies

  2. Where is home? Is it the place where we grew up? Or maybe the place where our parents now live, if we are fortunate to have them still with us? Perhaps it is more of a feeling than a place, a sense of being comfortable with who we are. Your haunting words, Damien, reminds us of the jarring confrontation that comes when we look at a place simultaneously through the eyes of who we were in the past and who we have become. Nests can be comfortable, but also confining–we were meant to fly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s