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



When all the fuss has faded
like guilt that glides from gloss,
when I’ve pulled back the hair,
when I’ve crept from the clothes,
when my flesh is all that you see
and there is nothing left
to hide the parts of me
I never wanted to be,
Will you…? Will I…?
When my tears come like the floods
with no temperament to temper the tempest,
when there is no laughter to kneel neath,
when I bare no gift to beg you like me
and there is nothing left
of the roles I’ve roped myself into,
of the masks I’ve twisted my face around
to veil my own identity, Will you…? Will I…?
Will you be able to read
the life lived between the lines,
will you see the soul
that slipped within the shadow?

I wrote it down
but ink fades faster than these pains
that have patterned
themselves into permanent
beneath this skin
I’m now unseasonably
and unceremoniously shedding,
scars that parade now in the spotlight,
in the parts of the play
I have been permitted to perform.
But they are scattered
between the scenes,
broken into awkward acts.
When the curtain finally falls
and I cast off the costume, Will you…? Will I…?

Will you understand what it took to get here?
Will you look further than the festering flesh?

I am more than just skin on the bone.


All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From an earlier poetry series entitled Between the Bone and the Broken

DUALITY for Poetry Day Ireland


It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This years theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…


And here is where we battle the truth;
east or west, the sun’s heat or the moon
that spies on our rest.
And here is where our paths divide;
the war to be won or the human
we are fighting to become.
And here the Indian draws the honour;
mild man stands in the boar’s breath
with integrity in hands.
And there in the east with helmet high;
fearless fighter bares the beast and blunders
into battle as bloody blighter.
Are we then of both moon and sun;
tied tightly to burning planet and that eye
watching nightly?
Can we be honest behind the armour;
can the blood we gorged be erased
by a single flood?
Can we be both brave and beast,
can we cry for the famine and still eat
at the feast?

Are we not confusions
caught between the confines,
are we not stars burning bright like the sun
but in the falling night?

Are we born to be beasts or born to brave the beast?

Let us be wild boars;

fearless in the face of our foe,
gregarious in our greed to grow.


All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly



I hear you



from your performance 


the shit-pit of sermon 

where you scared 

the simple man.

I hear you 



of parish and prayer

with your manners moody 

at mass 

with the mouldable masses.

Years later

over dinner 

and before dessert 

you spilt your sins

between the bread and wine,

your collar in the car

and your blessed ring

upon your manhood.

We can dress in robes,

we can fuck who we want,

but you can’t preach before the choir 

if you take boys in for hire.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly


Day 20 National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

What is it
when he looks at me
that makes me want to
love him

and when he cries
that makes he want to
hold him

and when he hurts
than makes me want to
heal him

and when he lets me in
makes me want to

run and hide?

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



If this is love
then ask no questions
I cannot answer

so disappointment
cannot distract us
from determination.

Accept the uncertainly
of this rocky road
set out before us

so doubt does not
divine disaster
before it dissolves us.

See today as the future
and tomorrow a bonus

least time tests us
with what has yet to be

and teases us with what
we wasted yesterday.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud: