BOOKENDS; ALL THE WATER CARRIES OFF WITH IT

 

There will always be a part of me
standing by the water’s edge,
watching how much of us
got washed away and wondering

how much more sunk so deep
below the surface that it is now
a captive more to your careful concrete
than that ever coldly cutting current.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This has been a month of saying goodbye to Living with Paris in order to move on. And so Stephen Sondheim comes to mind and the lyrics of the song Move On from the musical Sunday in the Park with George, based on Georges Seurat…

‘Stop worrying where you’re going, move on…
look at what you want, not at where you are,
not at what you’ll be…

I want to move on, I want to explore the light
I want to know how to get through, through to something new,
something of my own, move on…’

 

Here’s to getting through to the light and the newness and moving on. See you all on the other side… 

Dami xx

BOOKENDS; TO DARE TO REMEMBER

 

Do you remember Paris on occasions when spring sweeps in
with its breath of those lost days, in that other life, before
we knew London together or what it would be like to part?

Do you, do you remember Paris, my little room, our lithe love
and the plans we painted onto canvases of comfort at night,
in a single bed, in a corner, before I lost my way and we lost us?

Those lazy days of hazy light that fell to nights at a water castle,
the name-deceptive metro, where kisses took us on to the dawn.

Do you remember the first spring of our song, how it warmed
its way into a summer of sipping wine by the old, new bridge
before we’d slumber in the shade, in the park, below that bridge,
on the first site of the city, while the waters ran away with time.

Remember the rainstorm, that Sunday morning, birds near broken,
I find it funny how I missed any warning in their fluttering?

Do you remember catching colour amid the concrete of la Jatte,
in the shadow of Seurat, on a Sunday morning, still sleeping,
when we stopped to make connections between balance and breath.

You sang of the dots within the water and the sky, on that ordinary day,
in a summer of simple, on a stroll on a Sunday, along an isolated island,
in a city where everything ordinary was suddenly so extraordinary.

Do you remember that silly single bed in the corner; I always woke up
stuck to the wall. The sofa, the table and the sunflowers of plastic;

so not what you’d imagined at all.

Do you dare to venture to those times departed, when not a minute
suggested what time would design or all that we’d have to let go?

Remember Paris, remember you,
remember me,

remember us.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly.

We had met one night in Dublin, when I was still living in Paris, an Englishman putting on Les Miserables in my hometown while I was walking on the footsteps of Val Jean and the pretty ladies and the gang. We explored every inch of Paris and its musicality until I moved over to London and we learned how to get to know each other. We didn’t find forever but we will always have Paris.

 

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.

RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS IN A PARK ON AN ISLAND BY A RIVER IN PARIS

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city,
this morning, where the stream found a stillness
and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance.

I stood beneath the bridge
that took the traffic and its tension far from me
and found the swimming swan rising higher in the stream,
the follow-on from the floods that now seem so far
with these skies of blue, speaks of colour
in a park, on a Friday, in February,
where an artist once came to paint.

A park, in Paris, on an island,
by the Seine, where the waters wash with colour
when you look beyond the shadows, a new rise
basking in the glory of what was once regarded
as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness.

Straight and tall, shiny structures shoot up,
like soldiers, by a stream ever in movement,
ever following the route,
today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign
of an age the river has outrun.
I see trees towering tall in waters,
once rising, now falling, still strong, still weathering
the storm, still willing to be remembered, like an artist
captures beauty, captured beauty, in a park,
once, on a Sunday in a time since parted.

Nature is not in our control,
nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,
will not drown in these days of destruction,
will not worry, as we do, will not bend
but will let life flow around it,
in hope, in harmony.

In a park, on a Friday,
on an island, by the river,
in jogging shoes and sweatpants,
I ran through days already distanced
and tried to make connections between the road
winding onwards and the trees rising upwards, like the water,
rushing onwards like time, ever at play with its participants,
with all that it connects, with benches for the breathless
to recapture breaths and wheels
to help us follow the stream.

And in the windows
I saw reflections of those towering trees,
never to be forgotten, blue of sky in the beauty of light,
light and harmony, colour and shade, captured in what is new,
a hint of what knows the bounty of age.

And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,
I stopped and saw my reflection in the gentle waters
and in the waters saw colour, colour and light,
by a boat, in a park, in a city ever changing,
where an artist came to capture it all on a Sunday,
a simple Sunday, not a Friday but a Sunday, searching
for something between the shadow and light,
between all that will fade and all
the rest that cannot stay.

   

All words and photographs of Ile de la Jatte famed by Georges Seurat by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost for a week considering creation and how it flows around us

IMG_9664.jpg

RUNNING BY THE RIVER OF THOUGHT

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city,
this morning, where the stream found a stillness
and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance.

I stood beneath the bridge
that took the traffic and its tension far from me
and found the swimming swan rising higher in the stream,
the follow on from the floods that now seem so far
with these skies of blue, speaks of colour
in a park, on a Friday, in February,
where an artist once came to paint.

A park, in Paris, on an island,
by the Seine where the waters wash with colour
when you look beyond the shadows, a new rise
basking in the glory of what was once regarded
as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness.

Straight and tall, shiny structures shoot up,
like soldiers, by a stream ever in movement,
ever following the route, today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign
of an age the river has outrun.
I see trees towering tall in waters,
once rising, now falling, still strong, still weathering
the storm, still willing to be remembered, like an artist
captures beauty, captured beauty, in a park,
once, on a Sunday in a time since parted.

Nature is not in our control,
nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,
will not drown in these days of destruction,
will not worry, as we do, will not bend
but will let life flow around it,
in hope, in harmony.

In a park, on a Friday,
on an island, by the river,
in jogging shoes and sweatpants,
I ran through days already distanced
and tried to make connections between the road
winding onwards and the trees rising upwards, like the water,
rushing onwards like time, ever at play with its participants,
with all that it connects, with benches for the breathless
to recapture breaths and wheels
to help us follow the stream.

And in the windows,
I saw reflections of those towering trees,
never to be forgotten, blue of sky in the beauty of light,
light and harmony, colour and shade, captured in what is new,
a hint of what knows the bounty of age.

And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,
I stopped and saw my reflection in the gentle waters
and in the waters saw colour, colour and light,
by a boat, in a park, in a city ever changing,
where an artist came to capture it all on a Sunday,
a simple Sunday, not a Friday but a Sunday, searching
for something between the shadow and light,
between all that will fade and all
the rest that cannot stay.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

 

RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS ON A PARK, ON AN ISLAND, BY THE RIVER, IN PARIS

 

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city, this morning,

where the stream found a stillness 

and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance

 

IMG_9687

I stood beneath the bridge that took the traffic

and its tension far from me

and found the swimming swan

rising higher in the stream, 

the follow on from the floods that now seem so far

with these skies of blue, speaks of colour

in a park, on a Friday, in February,

where an artist once came to paint

 

IMG_9689

A park, in Paris, on a island, by the Seine 

where the waters wash with colour

when you look beyond the shadows

a new rise basking in the glory of what was once regarded

as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness 

 

IMG_9690

Straight and tall,

shiny structures shoot up, like soldiers, by a stream

ever in movement, ever following the route,

today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign of an age 

the river has outrun

IMG_9692

I see trees

towering tall in waters, once rising, now falling,

still strong, still weathering the storm, 

still willing to be remembered, like an artist captures beauty,

captured beauty,

in a park, once, on a Sunday

in a time since parted

 

IMG_9693

Nature is not in our control,

nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,

will not drown in these days of destruction,

will not worry, as we do, will not bend 

but will let life flow around it,

in hope, in harmony

 

IMG_9694

In a park, on a Friday,

on an island, by the river,

in jogging shoes and sweatpants,

I ran through days already distanced

and tried to make connections

between the road winding onwards

and the trees rising upwards, like the water, rushing onwards

like time, ever at play with its participants,

with all that it connects

 

IMG_9697

 

With benches for the breathless to recapture breaths

and wheels

to help us follow the stream

IMG_9698

And in the windows,

I saw reflections

of those towering trees, never to be forgotten,

blue of sky in the beauty of light, light and harmony,

colour and shade,

captured in what is new, a hint of what knows

the bounty of age

IMG_9699

And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,

I stopped and saw my reflection

in the gentle waters 

and in the waters saw colour,

colour and light,

by a boat,

in a park,

in a city ever changing,

where an artist came to capture it all

on a Sunday, a simple Sunday. not a Friday but a Sunday,

searching for something between the shadow and light,

between all that will fade and all

that cannot be fazed. 

 

Over a series of Sundays, in this park, on this island, in Paris, Georges Seurat painted Un Dimanche apres-midi a l’ile de la Grande Jatte. Stephen Sondheim later brought life to the characters within the painting and connections to the artist who died before the world recognised the talent he poured over his canvases in the musical Sunday in the Park with Georges. A few years go I wrote this poem on my first exploration of this little island, less green and more concrete now than in his day, but still with dots of colour and light and harmony…

Georges.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, a simple park

on a Sunday, in the summer.

Colour,

he painted colour 

in that park; clear, considered

untainted, untampered

colour, 

specs of colour,

rays of light 

in a park 

on a Sunday, in the summer 

in a season of details, in a salon of specifics

under demands to consolidate, co-operate. 

Colour,

he saw colour,

a canvas of light and colour,

a carnival of colour.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, on people,

simple people, working people, 

fishing people, fidgeting people

not polished people, not posh people.

They buried him

in a park,

another park, 

a quieter park 

but still with light and colour.

They buried him 

and then they buried his son 

and then another,

life and death, 

father and sons,

children and art,

children or art but only art survived.

He saw colour 

on a Sunday, in a park, on an island, in Paris, 

to the left of it’s center 

and there he made a difference.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

GEORGES, REFLECTIONS OF SEURAT ON A SUNDAY

 

Colour,
he saw colour
in a park, a simple park
on a Sunday, in the summer.
Colour,
he painted colour 
in that park; clear, considered
untainted, untampered
colour,
specs of colour,
rays of light
in a park
on a Sunday, in the summer 
in a season of details, in a salon of specifics
under demands to consolidate, co-operate. 
Colour,
he saw colour,
a canvas of light and colour,
a carnival of colour.
Colour,
he saw colour 
in a park, on people
simple people, working people
fishing people, fidgeting people
not polished people, not posh people.
They buried him
in a park,
another park,
a quieter park
but still with light and colour.
They buried him
and then they buried his son
and then another,
life and death,
father and sons,
children and art,
children or art but only art survived.
He saw colour
on a Sunday, in a park, on an island, in Paris, 
to the left of its center
and there he made a difference.  

 

All words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken on Ile de la Grande Jatte, Paris, France.