Between the Sea and the Stars, There are Bright Lights

For Rhona Greene, Ankh Spice and Matthew M C Smith

Darker days catch brighter lights,
Sitting by bay-windows enriched with hope
Falling

Into dreams.
I close my eyes and we ride bikes
Where the sea sways to the beat of the shore,

We are Sandycove and silly,
We slip south; the sand now snow, a soft shuffle
Over waves now carpets of magic, laughing

At the drunkenness of things.
There is more between here and there, stranger
And strength, light and dark, hope

And the hand you’ve held out.

Giddy on gay, we set down
Where the sea’s swept sand into calcite crystals;
Fire flames under water’s edge reflecting
Where we’ll dance and catch fire before,
We too, expire into the sparkle
Of a star.

Everything is a cycle; the sea, the sand,
These shores, this journey, these holds, our hands
Slipping in and out, our eyes that watch this dream turn;

In the end, it is a kiss goodbye
To ignite a new beginning.

From a dune, that holds the knowledge
The day has not yet come to share,
A goat raises his head and we, to him,
Bow.

This is his shore
And we, now welcome guests.

In the space between us, already lined
With a billion steps of all that flamed before,
Rests the weight of all it took
To get here and the hope
Of all we have yet to unearth.

We are strangers that have known each other
Longer than the fires that will burn
Through our own place, our shared space,
Our already written fate.

We supper on tangerines
And the soft swallow of pink rose petals
That were once something else
And drink incorrigibly

Of this bubbling friendship that dances
On our tongues before we take our leave
While not completely parting.

The sea is now the sky
On the ever-forwarding spiral into what will be,
Almost home, we throw kisses down
to the last land before the air sets us down again
to Earth,
An ancient land where a voice whispers words
Into a bough that will bend forever
With blossom.

Darker days
But there is light in the palms
Of hands, hooves, voices rising up from under cloud,
under land, under time, deep,

Lights that build bridges to lives

And in each life
A house with an open door and a fire,
Burning.

We set down, finally
Upon the shore, Sandycove’s caress,
And Joyce whispering of ghosts
Still tending to the tower;

What is written can never truly expire.

Our bikes await,
Round wheels ready for the rest
Of the journey, those cycles

As the waves return to tickle our toes
With a scent we now know
While the snow falls,
Slow and suddenly
So rich.

SEASONS OF THE FALL

I climb things, climbed things, out of warm womb,
fresh from first hold into new arms
already breaking, wondering about climbing back up.

I climb things, climbed things, chimneys in a child’s mind
looking for traces of reindeer and reasons
to still believe in faith and family and catching flight.

I climb things, climbed things, out of closets
and their cluttered comforts, out of skins I’d slipped into
to confuse the conscious and the curiosity
of others that could be cruel. Climbing can often cut.

I climb things, climbed things, into beds that didn’t know
any better, mouths that choked and fingers
that felt familiar, for a time, holding me
to ledges of love and lust and the lies in between.

I climb things, climbed things, over waves that didn’t drown
but even the sea comes over you in cycles,
some you win, under others you sink, like losses
and lovers and faith and fate. Sometimes climbs are a descent.

I climb things, I climbed things without ever looking back.

Now, I move forward through backward steps,
through chimneys and out into flight, into folds
and then out further, drawing in trust
and expelling worn waves, blind to coming corners
while studying the method I used to survive the last fall.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly