PURPLE CLOUDS

 

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

plants grow down
from purple clouds

carved of cotton catchable candy

and seek substance
from the surface
and not the ceiling.

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

fences are painted
with faces familiar

and mouths to catch kisses if you’re quick enough

and embraces
sprout like brush
to cradle comfort.

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

music spreads like ivy
a chorus to cut the chaos

and a crescendo of colour like a flower unfolding.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a repost for a week at looking at clouds

WHILE YOU WERE DREAMING

   

And as you dove through distant dreams
just beside me, you left to my centre,
I woke to the night sky splitting above me,
the stars were burning, bleeding through
the darkness as the heavens opened,
their gates no longer golden as the
rooks took flight, soaring into my fright
here in this cold night as you tossed
through thoughts and I watched mine
beating, beaten with feathers on fire,
the disparate darkness drawing delight
in my downfall, in my blindness, and you
turned in sweeping motions, your back
to me as I should have done, as I could not
and I wondered where you had wandered
as I was culled into consciousness, frozen
by the flames and shivering, were you
moving through memories we made
or making room for more to come
in other beds, in other arms, and then
befell the bodies, bound, in chains locked,
in flames crying, cursing, trying to pull
apart bonds that should have broken,
and you turned again and your arm
came over my chest and the vision
was smashed in contact, reverie
retreating but the burning continued…

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From the poetry series A Month with Yeats

Photograph taken at La Lune exhibition at Grand Palais, Paris 

 

 

THE CHILD INSIDE THE MAN

 

Oh child, sweet child, sleeping so
beneath these big shoes and ties
knotted to a life of change and choice,
but we had to run, had to keep going,
didn’t we have grow up so quickly;
stand up, show up, give up, pay up.
Oh child, sleeping child, so sweet
beneath this bitter battle we must wade
through, the waves come not solely
on the current, not timely like the tides
but in the solitude, in the silence
we thought to be a comfort, I feel you
twist through the dreams you still dream,
that I have lost hold of, that I have let
slip from a grasp now older, less bolder.
But you, dear child, sweetly sleeping
as I make movements meant to be manly,
meaning to be mature, how I hear
your voice, amid the louder, broader,
vulgar tones beyond the preying
playgrounds of concrete corporations
and communal conformity, yours
so soft and gentle amid the riots
and the roars, yours so soothing
amid all that is smothering. I see you
too sometimes, in the mirror, briefly,
a spark of what was once a projection, now
but a reflection; wide eyed
and hearty of hope, I see you, laughing
at my troubles, calling me to come play,
to see the adventure in the danger,
to see the impermanence of these little
interruptions that come a calling.
Oh child, sweet child who painted
pictures to make the grey days
more grand, who penned poems
to let the pain find its place to perish
on the page instead of in the person.
Oh child, sleeping child of my youth,
how much I still have to learn from you.

   

All words by Damien B Donnelly. School photo aged possibly 5.

From the series A Month With Yeats

IN THE ARCHITECTURALLY FASHIONED MEMORY OF WHAT IS NOW MODERN

 

I am of an age that is ageless, the very essence
that lingers somewhere between shadow and light;
that indescribable grey matter separating all that
aligns itself with black from all that derives its purity
from white. I am the illusive thread tying together
the journey, the twisting and twirling of cloths weaving
together past, present and briefly imagined futures.
I am the force between that barely dreamt dream
of what will be and that longing, lodged in the memory,
that leaves logic out to recall that single magical moment
from that day, long ago lived. That room in the mind
that holds so tightly to that taste once passed over lips,
ripe for the tasting, I am the emphasis of purity
in the remembrance of that very taste. All else,
long since, fallen by the wayside or lost out amid
the uncertainty of what’s remembered and what’s real.
I am the playfulness of the light you see cast bright
on your tall towers with their windows onto the world.
I am the linear contrast of urban lines, rising sharp
and structured amid the chaos. I am the smooth sleekness
untwining myself from a frivolous mess. I am
the seduction salvaged from the superfluous. I am
the impression left on the skin long after I’ve parted,
the mark of what once was, what is and what will be.
I am what makes the melancholy magical, every mood
a melody; the manufacturer of the moments the mind
will muster. I am the lines that will lead you on, latitudes
to rise upon and longitudes to fill your form. I am a city,
seen from above, with straights of sky-scraping streets;
lean lines, lengthy and lasting, marching triumphantly
forward as if to herald one’s rise out of confusing chaos
and stake your claim to stand above, alone, assured
and reassured, calm and confident, always exceptional,
occasionally eccentric, uniquely independent and always
individual. Modern made from a blend of what is
both memory and what has yet to be. I am everything
you put on to be who you are. Yesterday you dreamt
of me, tomorrow you’ll remember me, today, you are me.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This is a Repost.

DAFFODIL DREAMS

 

I climb clouds
between the night’s blanketed sleep,
a billowing blossom of smoke
that never chokes the mountain moon,
where the world is a warm walk
through a blue breeze
and the only plight
is to find your path
within a forest of daffodils
on a prairie of peace.

On a prairie of peace
within a forest of daffodils,
beyond the billowing blossom of smoke
that never chokes the mountain moon,
I climb clouds
as a blue breeze uncloaks
the confusion of consciousness
and the sky glistens
with a golden glimpse of tomorrow
tipped in a topaz tempered truth.

I climb clouds
to sleep in a dream of daffodils.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a re post of one of my older poems

ONE SMALL STEP, A SHORT STORY

 

I woke up to the sound of the bus bell, ringing out at the end of our block, signalling the first stop for the beach. Kids shrieked with laughter as they played catch in a neighbour’s yard and I heard Ma mumbling to herself as she twisted the knob back and forth on the new washing machine back before it finally chugged into gear like the Saturn V Rocket roaring from Cape Kennedy. In the room next door, Jinni was tapping her tiny plastic horses’ hooves on the window ledge and humming Let the Sunshine In for the millionth time while downstairs, on the back porch, Pop switched off the voice of Nixon on the wireless and replaced him with Davis’ Porgy and Bess on the gramophone. The Dickermans’ had a portable turntable for years now while we still had to make do with grampa’s old gramophone even though we’d more money than anyone on the beach side of Branford hills.
Jackson, Haines and Todd Tierney turned up as Ma cleared away my breakfast tray and the gang were allowed stay all afternoon. Jackson, the only out-of-stater in our little group, had just come back from camp with a newly built Estes Big Bertha model rocket, standing almost 2 feet high. It was big, black, bold and my, oh my, was it certainly yare. I watched from the bedroom window as they set it up in the yard and followed the trail of white smoke as it soared into the air before the red parachute burst out and returned her to the ground. Ayah, I thought, Bertha was wicked enough but, for me, the shiny white Trident model with its sleek line and red stripe was much more akin to Armstrong’s awesome Apollo.
Ma kept the smiles on our faces with afternoon snacks; a long grinder packed with cold meat, lettuce and tomato, her best-in-the-town cherry lemonade and double helpings of apple pie. Pop turned on the Linkletter show and cracked up the volume for the neighbours to hear and Haines ogled at Jinni through the window as she cartwheeled around the yard as if she was deliberately orbiting his imagination. We wrapped the rest of the afternoon up in Monopoly. Tierney, the old nutmegger, cheated twice, Jackson spent almost the entire time in jail, just like his own grampa, and yet, somehow, I still lost even though I’d managed to trade Short Line railroad with gumball-brained Tierney early on and had been the lucky son-of-a-gun to call shotgun on Illinois Avenue before anyone else, and usually only jail is more popular than this place, usually!
The boys set off home after they’d brought me down to the parlour in time for the news so we could check in with our three bravest countrymen. Turned out that our Space heroes were no more talkative on a rocket than they’d been on land. They’d spent their second day in space cooking, sweeping, making coffee and forecasting the weather. Cronkite told us that no news was good news but Jeez, give us a little something, I thought. This was Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, for real. I’d been dreaming about this moment from lift-off to set-down and no sweeping brush or coffee maker had got in the way of the weightlessness of my body floating through space. The final news report was some story about someone who said sorry to someone else who had once said something about spaceflight not being possible even though someone else had said it would be and now that someone was embarrassed because someone else was actually right and three humans were now in space. Phew!
Pops returned me to bed at 9pm that evening with a tummy fit to burst from Nelly’s creamy clam chowder, whose smell couldn’t even be matched by the blueberry cobbler she’d made us for dessert. Once Mum had helped me with the final duties of the night; toilets and teeth, I took my torch and elbow-crawled my way under the blankets, dragging Pops childhood copy of Amazing Adventures with me. In Pop’s day, when Buck Rogers was called Anthony for a reason I never understood, the coolest toy was Rogers’ Rocket Police Patrol Ship, which he now had locked behind a glass case in this study which smelt constantly of spicy flowers, the lasting residue of his Connecticut shade cigars. I wasn’t often allowed play with the ship, unless a doctor’s visit had left me too unsettled, but I always pictured it in my head when I went swashbuckling with Buck and his galpal Wilma Deering. Rogers had miraculously awoken after a sleep of over 400 years and within days was battling the Han race with rocket pistols and jumping belts. Suddenly it was turning out that science, space and super heroes were more real today than yesterday. A man was now on his way to the moon and there sure was nothing more wicked than that. You know, plenty of people who couldn’t imagine it yesterday now believed in it today. Who knows what else could happen with a little time and imagination, perhaps a crippled boy of today could rise up, all by himself, tomorrow and take one small step.

All words by Damien B Donnelly

Photographs taken at La Lune exhibition, Grand Palais Paris, 2019

This is a reblog of an earlier post.

GOLDEN HAZE

 
Slow comes the morning,
eyes still dazzled by the delicate stars
now off trailing dust across the universe
as if plotting tracks to tempt us
further than the stubborn stance
of our single spotlights
and I wonder how far you got
as I sit here, in the silence
of this slowly waking morning light
casting shadows on the single form
in this too big room with no door
large enough to climb through.
We considered setting sails
on cotton clouds once, long ago,
in a corner of this concrete jungle,
a single streetlamp casting courage
onto our concerns of cutting free
like a jazz break from the base,
of burning our own trails of glorious starlight
across the deafening daylight.
I am breath that still can bleed now,
here now, far from that corner we once
we painted dreams on, trying to force
the foot to slow the speed of this time burning
while you; already taken to the dust,
now a speckled starlight
cutting your own groove
into an orbit I cannot observe
while tossing remembrances
down from the night sky
that fall and flitter
above the dizzying distraction
of this golden haze of mourning light,
still coming on slow.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

17th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

BLINDING LIGHT

Blanket light,

blinding

in the back seat,

not all light is light,

the sun can burn through its beauty,

the mind can tear through its thoughts

as wheels will themselves

across these bridges,

feet too far from the ground

to feel its gravity,

we build our own graves

along these roadside reveries.

Blanket light,

burning

in the back seat,

leather licks skin,

we cannot wash away the dust,

we cannot break away

from that grey light

burning bright behind the sunlight,

we are desert bound or ocean open;

we either dry up or seek salvation

in the comfort the current creates.

Blanket light,

a burning blindness breaking

through the open window

on this back-seat taxi-taker.

Destination is not always the desire

when running from reason.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

DREAMS AND DRAGONS

 

Liz from the wonderful blog here at WordPress Exploring Colour: https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/snow-dragon asked us recently to find inspiration between a stunning photograph taken by Pete Hillman from his blog Ghosts In The Weir   and the concept of a Snow Dragon. The request was to write a poem or draw a Snow Dragon. I went for the poem and then, inspired by the photograph, made a little pastel sketch as an accompaniment

et voila… a little audio version first…

 

I stepped into the storm
and took the path between the pines,
I curved along the bank
of which the river bed defines.

I watched the falling snow
bequeath a blanket on the bark,
the water formed a wave
and then that wave became an arc.

I noticed how the birds
had all since taken from the trees,
and that the current held no caution
and the arc held no appease.

I stopped within the storm
among the silent pillared pines,
and held a breath by the bank
as aberrant arc unfurled its spine.

I watched the wave turn wing
and saw the tide become a tail
while onward came the snow
on the wind now a wail.

I’d stepped into the storm
between the pines along the path,
but by the bank that cut a curve
I feared that myth had met with wrath.

A tarragon arose,
had drawn breath upon the rivers,
a dragon of the snow
and my skin awash with shivers.

I wondered if the birds
had since foreseen in the future
this dragon from the tide
find its form as snow-capped creature.

I tried to turn and run
from this basilisk of the snow
until its eyes fell open
and I sensed this was no foe.

I stood upon my tracks
and felt my foolish fear descend,
no fire this beast did bare
and no danger his snout distend.

This dragon of fair flakes,
this mammoth mythos flushed in white,
no monster of the dawn
and neither demon of the night.

I stepped into the storm
and found my fate transform from snow;
for this vision from the water
did bring a tale for me to show.

I’d fallen from the magic
and had been jolted out of joy,
had grown to be a man
who’d lost the dreams he’d held as boy.

But there, in the clearing,
I finally watched my youth take flight,
from a ripple on the river
as this snow-capped dragon slayed the night.

All words and sketches by Damien B. Donnelly

Heartfelt thanks to Liz at Exploring Colour for the challenge (link to her blog above).

Photograph inspiration by Pete Hillman (link to his blog above):

IMG_3626.JPG

I DREAM

 

Dreaming,

 

seeing time

as something silky

you can slip though,

 

rearranging reality,

 

the hours revolving

around minutes

around molecules

neither past nor present;

 

the future still waiting

to be moulded,

 

dreaming

of tempering time;

 

of breaking it

 

of bending it;

 

redrawing curt corners

into kinder curves,

rerouting long roads

into achievable lengths.

 

I bend time

beyond this bed

of twisted sheets,

 

these withered webs,

 

tired and torn,

 

and mend

in my mind, slumbering,

that which was cracked

 

before the mirror

catches its reflection

of disruption,

of distraction,

of rejection.

 

And I wonder

in all this bending,

in all this mending,

 

how much the mind

will remember

 

and how capable am I,

in waking,

 

to let time forget?

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly