Wondering how to move now
after such torpidity,
wondering how to recognise now
the trenches as we take slow steps
across the battle fields of playgrounds,
bus stops and aisles packed
with questions of contagion carried
in other people’s trollies.
Wondering how to move again
after such paralysis-
limbs lurching as thoughts shift
forward and then back
as if it were a dance.

There’s a couple dancing, always,
in a field of folly in the 8th,
in Paris, in faraway France.
She wears a red hat of nonsense
upon coiffed hair and he-
a blue suit, a little worn,
a little withered like himself
but they dance, always,
next to a bridge where a fountain
once moved to the melody.

They dance in a moment,
a single solid moment, a moment
that has past, like they have
and the hand too that turned this stone
into a study of a couple
who hold each other tightly.
But they are statue.
Stone. Still.

They’ve been caught
on a note that a band once played,
for a moment
before they packed up and left.
We are now careful dancers,
stepping out bravely
to catch that next note
before the band moves on.


All words and photos by Damien B. Donnelly.

Parc Monceau Paris 


3 thoughts on “THE NEXT NOTE

  1. You’ve captured so beautifully. Damien, the sense of this moment, the hesitation, wondering, and uncertainty of what comes next and how we should act and react. Ideally we would step out bravely, but, hélas, inertia and fear tend to paralyze us and we are likely to remain as frozen in place as your dancers.

    • Thanks Mike. Such a strange time indeed- I see some jumping right back into it while others, like me, are sitting back, tipping our toes into the edge of the tide just to see how the temperature is. Strange times will continue for some time I think. 🤗☘️

      • I am definitely with you, Damien, on your cautious approach. It is sad to see how many people have jumped right back in and the sharp rise in new COVID-19 infections in so many parts of the US is alarming. Things are so bad that many countries are considering banning US citizens from entering. It is inspiring, Damien, to see how much creative work you are getting done during this time of turmoil.

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