IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN KING

 

Sun shines in the valley
where the sun king came to stay,
shade is shy in the valley
at the king and queen’s hideaway.

Shadows slip through the valley
down from stars to under stairs,
some secrets slip through the valley
whispered from lips of concrete heirs.

Sun shines in the valley
on swans now savage at swim,
the sun shines in the valley
though the peasants weren’t allowed in.

Shadows sneak through the valley
through the greed gathered within,
shadow is splitting the valley
like guillotines cutting through skin.

Sun shines in the valley
as gold from the fountains flow,
the sun shines in the valley
where follies fade and legends grow.

Shadows sleep in the valley
along paths where tourists thread,
shadows are stuck in the valley
like dust on ideals long dead.

Sun shines in the valley
as Apollo rides the waves,
the sun shines in the valley
and drowns the suggestion of slaves.

Shadows stretch through the valley
pressed into promises made,
shadow is song in the valley
on benches where kisses once laid.

Sun shines in the valley
in the Sun King’s palace of pride,
the sun shines in the valley
where they often came just to hide.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Reposting this for 14 juillet (Bastille Day, French National Holiday) 

I took a break recently to deal with some life challenges, health issues, panic attacks and to edit my novel (after receiving an extremely positive critique from an interested publisher) and then ended up getting distracted by planning to move country at the end of the year so have not been around for a while ( I am sorry to have been away for so long and also sorry to have missed your blogs, I will be playing catch-up over the coming weeks after a trip to Ireland) but I am still here, and will be back…

In the meantime I am re-blogging a few older poems.

Hugs and good thoughts to you all, DamiX

Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life

Bells and baubles bound to branches
While tinsel twists and turns and ties,
Santa’s sleighs and snowmen dancing
Lights all aglow like stars in skies,

On the tree an angel sparkles,
Crackers to pull and bells to ring,
Neath the tree a manger slumbers
With a bed that waits for a King,

Reindeers leap with noses glowing
And crystal snowflakes catch the light,
Mama’s wrapping, Daddy’s snoring
While not a child can sleep tonight,

Carrots washed and the cookies laid
The fire is out and chimney preened,
Sprouts are steeping and pudding’s made
Stockings hung and the turkey cleaned,

On the telly Julie’s singing
Over the hills and next to nuns,
In their beds kids are dreaming
Of barbie dolls and small toy guns,

The cards have come and candles lit,
Mistletoe placed and holly hung,
Cupboards bursting and bellies full,
Potatoes pealed and Bing has sung,

Sons and daughters are back at home
Reunions made and laundry done,
Mince pies warmed and the mulled wine brewed
Carolers called, charades begun,

In the dawn all children wakening
Reaching out to stockings now filled
Leap down stairs to gifts awaiting,
Their magic, myth and dreams fulfilled,

Big bird’s in the oven cooking
Husband will carve to charm the wife,
The crib’s now filled with the new born King
Its Xmas tradition, it’s a Wonderful Life.

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Merry Christmas Everyone

Fool’s Kingdom

I am frequently fool:

Folly of fearful affection,

Fading fast behind a closed door

With key in hand-

My own hand.

Unseen,

Untouched,

Craving to be held,

But afraid to be found,

Figured out,

As failure, freak, fanatic fool.

I am boy grown man,

Growing old, going grey-

Recedingly so-

And all in the blink of my eye.

Am I really

That unrecognized reflection

In the mirror,

Staring back at me-

Questioningly?

Skipping, slipping, sliding,

Fidgeting,

Foolishly falling forward

Into a future-

Though of what?

I’ve been Dublin born,

Bullied and bored;

The bashful boy

Who never understood why the big boys pushed him,

The artistic child

Who painted a world where everyone loved him,

The boy child

Who never saw the streets as fair as the songs all painted,

Who only saw the limits and restrictions of an island-

Isolated.

The growing boy-

Who finally fell distracted by the body of man

And the feel of it’s touch,

Mostly mistaking momentary fumblings

To be romantic ever-afters,

But they were mainly misjudged minutes of madness-

More ‘Always Ending’ than ‘Everlasting’-

Learning curves,

Bathing pools,

Energetic experiments

And sweaty seductions

After too much booze

And mixed with pocketfuls

Of inexperienced,

Overly enthused

Disney-like

Naivety.

I remember laughing the first time he undressed me,

Crying the first time I came,

And settling in when I should have been leaving.

I thought me broken hearted-

But it was not so,

Could not,

Never have been-

You need to know the heart

Before it can break

And this man child had yet to meet

The beat that bleed him.

And so,

It was the first full stop,

Dublin Done.

Moving on…

Amid cobbled streets

And Marais magic

The boy became truly man-

Removed, replaced,

Relocated,

Refreshed- alone,

No longer island bound

No longer thought to be ‘Known’ by the common crowd.

A new kingdom- to find freedom in-

Lay await at my feet

And there I was,

Suddenly,

In the middle of it all

And-

Drowning,

Mistaking myself

to be Ardent Adventurer!

Explorer Extraordinaire!

How I’d convinced myself that

Fly on the wall, watching, dictating, reporting

Was so much more important to an aspiring artist

Than a dived in, soaked up, part of it all, competitor!

And then time, slowly,

Unbeknownst to me,

Drew me out,

Pulled me in,

Lessened my wide-eyed glare,

Cleaned my cumbersome and clumsy character

And left me

Grown,

As we do,

Totally unaware

Not able to pinpoint the very moment,

Or time,

Or place

That it happened-

It was just there-

I could feel it,

I caught it in my own reflection

Within the eyes of other men-

Bigger men,

Older men,

Grown men,

Who now seemed not so different any more,

And in that reflection

I fell surprised,

Shocked

Because nothing had changed in that person that stared back at me

But somehow,

Inexpressibly,

Everything was different.

There have been, of course,

Other lands,

Other men,

Many moments of madness,

Sadness,

Gladness.

Touches and tendernesses.

Lovers I’ve left and

Friends that I’ve lost

But they are, so often,

Like time- all fleeting,

They do not stay for long-

Forever is not for everyone.

But in my heart-

Which is now known

And heard

And occasionally understood-

There is the place for those

Who indeed have proved

Irreplaceable-

The pillars upon which I gaze

And markers toward that life

I wish to lead.

They are crowning

A new King, today

In this foreign City

That somehow,

Over time,

Has found its way to be familiar-

And I think somewhere

Amid it’s watery streets

Lies my future in waiting.

And, as I dress by the mirror,

On April’s last dawning,

I wonder to myself

As I catch that reflection-

Still so familiarly different-

When next will I feel

More King

In me

Than fool.

photo-21