WHEN LOOKING UP; DON’T LOOK BACK

 

One born to song and sorrow
One killed by serpent’s bite
One lost to hands of Hades
One walk from dark to light

If I could say to hold the note
If I could say to keep the chord
If I could say that she will follow
And that fear should be ignored

One descends to catch the hand
One walks by light of moon
One leads and plays the lyre
One follows and trusts the tune

If you can trust that she’ll follow
If you believe the devil’s dare
If your song is true and steady
You can escape the Cerberus snare

But Orpheus was melody
And Eurydice his muse
But Mr. Hades was conductor
And kept the band beating blues.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

TO COME CURIOUS

 

We take slow steps into the sweet water, watch the current
caress the dark rock, the volcanic roar no longer rupturing,
its rage now rocked to slumber by this single shore. I lose
my shirt to time’s tide and this shimmering sand, I lift it up
and feel the weight that washed over it as you turn to face
the vast ocean and wonder what the next wave will bring
upon us. We have crossed currents, trained through towns
and cut across mountains, we have laughed at sadness
and cried over cocktails, we have come so far to wade out
into these waters as locals watch us with questions of how
and why. We have come curious to this country, we creep
along its coast like this tide, rummaging over these rocks,
wondering what happened to the heat it once ran with
when man was more forgiving and the mountain more daunting.
We climb the dormant mount, once maker of molten menace,
to watch the sun swim up from the sea and we count minutes
till the darkness will be disregarded as if time is all that’s needed
to destroy depression, decay, dysphoria. This mountain, once
a monster the sea could not settle and land could not control,
this country, once more than a division of north and south,
of emperors and conquers, Confucians and Catholics, devout
and deserted. We were once more than single souls searching
for the way back. We are tides, coming and going along
these beds we find shelter in, arms wrapped around us
like seaweed we equally fight off and hold down, we are lava,
trailing tunnels through our own thoughts, destroying
what we think to be too much but never quite knowing
how to fill the hollowness that’s left behind. We take steps
down into the open earth, adding sweaters to our short sleeves
and I wonder why it grows colder the closer we get to the core.
Isn’t the inferno on fire anymore? Dante will be disappointed.
We look like ants crawling over cobbled rock as we curve
through these corridors created in centuries now cemented
into time and caress these walls and catch our breath
under cathedral ceilings created by no creature but by nature’s
creation. Deeper and deeper still and the silliness is replaced
by a silence in this place where the waters drip from porous rock
and we look smaller, less special, not so strong in this cave
carved by once molten rock, by lines of luscious lava
that laughed as its lungs opened and its power poured. Later,
back at the beach, the tide again tickles our feet as we stand
upon the rock that once before roared. We are equal parts
creator and equal parts responsible for all that we corrupt.
We have come curious to this country but find ourselves
asking more questions about who we are than of this coast
that will still be counted long after we have been smashed
upon our own current. We take slower steps through
the sweetness and my heart beats louder, longer, lighter.

  

All words and photographs of Jeju Island in South Korea by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost of a week considering Creation and our position within it.

FALLEN FROM FABLE, day 13 of A Month with Yeats

 

It’s day 13 of Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats and today’s inspiring quote is from ‘The Hosting of the Sidhe’ by W.B. Yeats: ‘Away, come away: empty your heart of its mortal dream.

My poem today is called: FALLEN FROM FABLE

 

When this mortal coil uncurls

is it a fall into a feathered freedom

we fly, away from the cry and the critic

of this shell of an earth, this hell

on earth, do we really need to reiterate

the ferocious fable of that inferno below?

It’s here, burning through the seeds

we failed to sew and we are both

the basis of its bloodbath and

the ashes of its aftermath.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Jane’s blog is: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/a-month-with-yeats-day-thirteen/

THE MATTER OF THE MUCK

 

The Americans and the British were bent on finding Jim Morrison while the Irish and the Japanese, for some reason, longed to add new kisses to the now ball-less Sphinx lingering over the long decayed body of Wilde, who probably watched down over their stupidity and offered a wicked wand of wit as their rouged up lips found a free side of the concrete to consecrate. Kissing a carcass is much like kissing an ass, you come away from both with a distinct desire to rinse out your mouth immediately.

At one point, somewhere amid the ongoing battle of the trees reclaiming the conquered landscape, I took a turn into the shadows and a darkness fell all around as if a cover had been put on the sun like one drapes a cloth over the cage of a bird mid song and suddenly the silence is stifling. Darkness comes over you in the same way when unannounced. The weight of its dominance takes on a persona as its very essence runs its icy touch along your skin. Under its spell, and there was a spell upon me, I lost all sense of direction, trapped so strikingly between the desire to run towards life and the horrid reality that I was standing upon so much death. I didn’t believe in ghosts, not because I was sure they didn’t exist, but because I’d never thought about them or allowed such superstition to cross my path. But there, in that twist of day and night, amid the moss covered beds of those who had long since reached out their heads and hands to eternal rest, everything was open to suggestion.

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I twisted and turned over directions in my mind, the routes I had taken that brought me there, both literally and figuratively. I’d come for the fun, to find the forever flames of the famous, now fruit for roots and worms. I’d come also to escape, to escape the daily drab of life, the 9 to 5, the rush hours, the traffic jams, the gossiping, the nattering, the crowded metros and shoulder shrugs. I’d come to death to escape life and lost my way beneath its shadows. I’d wanted something different and found something terrifying instead, mortality. Under the silence of the surreal, I heard bones rotting, flesh festering, souls scratching, ties breaking, my heart beating and my watch ticking, teasing me with every minute I had wasted seeking diversions from the right roads, the real roads. The track trembled before me. Tombs lay broken and open, dark holes reaching into darker realms that only Dante had dared to dwell on in life and all that watched me were birds; black birds, big black birds, baying, sinister sentinels and not a single dove to drown out the darkness.
I felt my own skin tighten around tensed muscles, pulses pound around veins as if starved for blood, as if my whole body feared its finality, foresaw what would one day become of it, here in this place of buried beds and eternal sleeps where the angel creeps and mourners weep.
Suddenly I heard a child’s voice laughing and I turned and ran towards its distant direction but my feet heeded not my mind and my footing fell upon a broken branch of nature and the break of my ankle echoed through my frustration as I fell while nature itself looked and laughed and length. I fell upon a grave. I fell upon an open grave and I lost sight of the cemetery. I lost sight of the trees fighting the concrete columns. I lost sight of the weeping madonnas. I lost sight of the stone eyes angels and so, as I plunged down, deep down, I closed my eyes and waited to be swallowed by the bowels of the earth.

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With a shock, I jumped up, in bed, at home. My bed, my home, not a grave, not the end, not Dante’s inferno. My breath could not find itself in the confusion, still stuck in the dream, in the nightmare disguised as a dream, down in the layers of hell. Eventually, in a sweat, I managed to make it to the bathroom and turned on the tap to wash my face in cold water and drown myself back into the security of reality. I looked in the mirror, it was still me, still my refection, still my face. I looked down to turn off the tap and noticed the dirty water running down the drain. Then I saw my hands; covered in muck, my body; covered in muck, my feet; covered in muck.
What in hell is going on, I asked myself? What was happening, had it all been real, had I actually been to the cemetery somewhere under the cover of night and nonsense? I looked back into the mirror at my reflection and it smiled back at me. My heart stopped. My skin tensed, just like in the dream.

My reflection was smiling but I wasn’t.

I wasn’t anymore.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

All Photographs taken at Cimetière Père Lachaise, Paris, France

The War Of the Worlds

How did it feel to hang

By nails

And wait for a death

You were born to endure?

Created by The Father

As a symbol

Of His power

To save

A crumbling humanity.

He gave you life

For it to be ripped from your body.

No saving grace for you,

No end to the pain,

No Lord to help you.

The Father,

The Protector,

The Divine Creator

Silently watching

As your human pain

Pours

From your human body.

Did you suffer a lifetime

For every second

That you remained

In that earthly body,

Punctured by earthly hands,

Jeered by earthly voices,

Cried for by earthly women?

Did Mary know the gift

Weaned upon her bosom

Would depart this world so heinously?

Did She trust

In the promise of Heaven,

Did She believe

In the prophecy of Angels-

Even at the end

When your screams

Shuck the Heavens?

Did you question your Father’s promise

Of a seat by His side

While the cold nails

Split your flesh

And the shimmering blade

Slaughtered your sides?

A Jew hated by Jews,

A Jew betrayed by Jews.

Did you foresee

On the cross

How the world would shake

In your aftermath?

Your Father sacrificed you

For the salvation of humanity

But ever since

That salvation

Has waged wars

In his name.

He first split the Earth

From the Heavens

And then he let man

Split the Earth in two.

Did you die in vain

Or did you die to show that the innocent must suffer?

But what is lost most through suffering

Is innocence.

Eye lids stitched open

So no pain goes unseen,

Voices raised

So we hear each and every scream.

Today

The crosses around our necks

Are adorned with jewels and pearls,

That day-

On the cross,

As you rose from humanity,

Did you foresee

The war of the worlds?

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