I pulled a seat
up along the far side
of the first hill
of this midway through life’s climb
and sat myself towards country,
having been stripped
for so long
like bare bark by too many cities.

Green blood poured
upwards from your soil
onto my skin
until there was nothing left
to separate either of us

but for those ditches
that we would climb over
and perhaps leave the parts of ourselves
too ridged
for these winding lanes,
and those gentler hills
that we’d allow time to consider
while we considered nothing more
than what we had-

air, earth and this seat
on the far side of life’s hill
growing over time
with honesty.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly



She was called Éireann, even in Holland,
(misschien vreemd, ik weet het)
though she was greener than I ever was,
back then, with the mud of the land
still caked into her guards while I was off
and running, ever forward, adding guards
to my guards till I saw the earth was round
when home appeared again, on the horizon.
(Vreemd, of misschien niet).

Later, decked in a fur coat of fine snowflakes
that clung to your form while they melted
off mine, you appeared as blank canvas
before a river to skate away on, like she sang,
once, in a city that was not this one. Funny,
what sinks in and what drowns, even light
can fade into the wrong water, even water
can remain on solid structures as icicles.
Some things cling on while others slip away.
(Vreemd, of misschien niet).

Round that red bricked bridge we rode,
a decade of being Dutch, (how long?
Ik weet het- vreemd, toch?), thinking
I was only stranger and the road my home,
but those were the days when the wheels
spun in circles around canals that turned
back on themselves. Maybe that’s how
we learn to come home- spinning in circles,
on roundabouts or her carousel of seasons
that went round and round.

She was called Éireann, even in Holland.
Maybe the answers to all I was looking for
were already there in her name.
Misschien wel!

Maybe some things take a cycle to sink in.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



I’d never heard the call of the green
though my eyes caress it
in a certain light
and so many walls I’ve covered
with that same colour
to curate a comfort from the cold.
I’d never heard it, till now,
till the windows stopped
keeping out that chill.
Blue, I never found blue cold,
on the contrary, I see the sky
coming down to caress the seas I’ve crossed
in a coating of calm encouragement,
even in the snow, in the moonlight,
that blue light connecting its contours
like icy jazz notes on a single saxophone
on a smoky soirée, in a time the greying mist
of memory hasn’t quite drained.
Blue never, but white; chills.
I had red walls once and, at the time,
thought them a tribute
to my, as yet unexposed, pride.
I since recall them
as something more melancholy;
a call in themselves,
but in my child’s mind
I was scarlet conquering
on Sunday afternoons
on the inside of the rain
as oldies played across the tv screen
long before I even heard the song
from the singer in blue.
Blue, songs are like…
songs are like souls catching flight,
in my mind they are shadows;
black and white blurs,
but in the air they take flight
like cormorants of colour
over those green lands
my eyes are seeing
with more interest than ever before
as I come to drink again from that case.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

14th poem for NaPoWriMo



I set down
upon your shores,
those grazing greens
of my childhood memory
displaced as tears rained
over the darkness
of your sleeping fields,

once seeping with humble hope,

once filled with a fine blood
even famine could not blight,

now flooded with a feeling of regret or relief,

too dark to tell,
too changed to recognise,

not knowing if you were crying
because I had found my way home
or that I’d once found a home in other fields.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Poem for Day 8 of National Poetry Writing Month




Behold the delicate daffodil,
spirited squirrel,

moist moss of early morning in green garden,
towering tree thriving through winter,

the peace that dawns with the dust,
the blue sky afloat on still water,

absorbing, reflecting, meditating,

the simple root the river runs,
the rustle of the red rose tipped with thorns,

the flowering moonlight over stony soil,
the secrets Spring’s sun whispers to Summer’s stock.

Behold how nature nurtures

while man disappears beneath his own destruction.

Behold how much there is to learn from.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

4th poem for Nation Poetry Month 2019


Reposting this oldie about Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day



And again I found myself, of a morning, that morning,
on a winding road, once more, meandering like a stream,
before it opened up to unveil a vast expanse of stillness
where brook and lake entwined, where rugged roads
wandered into wilder woods and the light, that sat upon mossy mountain,
reflected the break of another boorishly boisterous day in a landscape
where Yeats, having left the Mauds of his world to fight the battle
without him, had climbed nightly The Thoor Ballylee to find rest, and so,
that morning, I revelled in what it meant to be connected to these often harsh,
sometimes barren but seldom anything less than breathtaking lands.
Immense clouds hanging on the horizon, fertile lands out front,
awash with the 40 shades and a silence, amid so much
awe-inspiring nature, that the Emerald in her name seemed so justified.
And yet, as if forever ingrained and known, but for a moment forgotten,
from somewhere deep inside resurfaced the notion that it was not these lands
that I missed but the memory of laughter that blew above these lands
on the breeze that crossed fields of verdant greens, that skirted over grass
waiting to be grazed on and found rest in trees that longed for lovers to kiss beneath.
And then, as normal as the nodding of the cap to the passing stranger
along the roadside, I was taken back to those lucidly liquid days shining
from my youth when the patriotic spirit of a nation, so small but spirited,
more laughed with than laughed at, doused itself in shamrocks
and drowned itself merrily in spirits of an altogether other nature,
a time when neighbours knew each other like family
and a new face in town was merely a friend we did not yet know…
And there I stood, home again, spun on that same laughing breeze
into the past and I saw before me the Me of today reflected
in my childhood form of yesterday with teddy in one hand
and Tayto’s in the other, smiling amid laughter I had heard
but was far too young to understand in a land that I’ve fled so far from,
swept up and away on other breezes, and yet, however high I fly
or however much I roam, I never seem to feel too far
From that Fair Green Isle called home.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

First 4 photographs in Skerries and Lusk, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Bottom photographs at Ailwee Caves and along the shoreline in Dingle, Ireland