BOOKENDS, SEASONAL STREET SCENES ON A SATURDAY IN PARIS

All photographs by Damien B Donnelly

The final photograph is me, today, back at Alesia, the 14th arrondissement of Paris where I first lived over 4 years ago when I came back to live in Paris for the second time. Today I was back here for lunch today with Mary, my dear Irish friend, who I met in Paris when we both first moved here 23 years ago. Circles closing and connections continuing…

BOOKENDS; TO BE CAST IN SOMETHING OTHER THAN CONCRETE

 

Would he cry now for the concrete
that has taken root in reality,
this was never what inspired his impression.

I shiver sometimes when I slip to the edge of this shore
where George saw more in suggestion
and Stephen gave names to the dots.

Balance and harmony are hopes, not foundations
but you wanted me to lay down in all you had built
before you even knew my name.

We are all artists; drawing, singing, writing,
directing, searching for our spotlight on the stage

or along the shore.

You wanted us to be a monument but I knew
the concrete would crush my concern for creation.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

Georges Seurat painted on Sundays in 1884 on Ile de la Grande Jatte, an island on the edge of Paris. Before I left Paris in 1999, my boyfriend would come over from London on weekends where we would walk along this island looking for the light and balance Georges had painted in dots onto his canvas, while humming the tunes from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sunday in the Park with George.

BOOKENDS; WORDLESS WEDNESDAY, PARIS

 

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It all started with a degree in Fashion Design and pattern making from the Grafton Academy in Dublin, so where else was I destined to live? The joys of working as a pattern making in this industry was the ability to live in different counties. In London I worked for Reiss, in Amsterdam I worked for Pepe Jeans, G- Star and Calvin Klien and finally, here, I worked at the Paris design atelier of the women’s wear lifestyle brand & Other Stories.

All photographs by Damien B Donnelly

BOOKENDS; AMATEUR STATUS

 

November rains in a park, trying to be an artist,
attempting to capture it all in quiet corners,
beyond earshot from anything daring,
sheltered in shadow instead of off in adventure,

thinking I’d found myself but it was safe, fake lies;
a pacifying of the ego, trying to paint a Pissarro
in a Paris park with colourless pencils, not suffering
for art but suffocating in the subject that surrounded me,

your multi-layered character was a daunting place to start
adding colour to this blank canvas, I was but amateur
attempting astounding, dabbling in shadow and shade;
more lifeless than lit, more stilled life than filled with life.

One million options beneath my feet waiting to be walked
and I picked the solitary seat, in the shade of a Saturday,
in a park, in Paris, a spot speckled with strokes of life
but my own form had yet to be found within the frame.

I was as lifeless as the simple scene I had sketched
but I hung you on my wall nonetheless, as a reminder
perhaps; fast movement was needed least winter winds
would wipe this foreigner as forgotten before begun.

   

Words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. This is a month of looking back at my life with Paris in order to start moving on. I wrote this poem at 23. I was 22 when I first sat in le jardin du Luxembourg and tried to painted a canvas with colourless pencils.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY; HELLO HOLLAND

 

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All photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Today we are recalling the colours of my previous home town as yesterday a Dutch shipping company came along to move my belongings from my 5th floor/no-lift Paris apartment and start directing them towards Dublin. One Dutch man, one flams man, and me, the irishman, in Paris, speaking Dutch, sweating and running up and down 5 flights of wide, winding and weather worn Parisian wood steps, and doing it all in less than 20 mins!!!