New leaf climbs old tree-
this ivy will not be held
down is no direction,
dynamic is the trail of this root
now gleaming on the hallow wood.
Sometimes empty centres are for holding
hopeful hearts.
Layers of leaves come like coats of zinc-
a wrapping for these times were comfort is craved.
Nature nurtures freshly cut back bark
by the side of the garden
where thought had been neglected.
Not everything will survive-
not all bark, not all breath,
but hope, when held, can be as simple
as a trail of fresh branch
born around a broken bark.


Words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



I remember you, growing older,
how your skin adapted- as if it had grown in the garden
on the branch of the rhododendron.

Shiny it was, with lines that time had tempered into it,
ever so carefully, like you tempered peace into our panic,
stillness into our hast, serenity into our cacophony.

The leaf, always that single leaf of our lives, never wanting
to be the blush of the flower, just the leaf- always under, in support.

New leaves, like weathered skin, sprout slowly from aging bark,
a soft beauty between the bramble and briar,
between being the wife, the mother and the grandmother.

Today, I tended the garden- mum’s garden now,
your garden once when we were but shoots and you- the whole tree,

and I remembered you

and the slow shuffle of slippered feet and those grand cardigans
that wrapped their comfort across the curve of your back,
that bowed like a branch to reach us all the better.

I recalled your skin that had grown a line for each of us,
a connection to catch hold of, to come back to, those kids we once were
with spotless skins life had yet to mark, always eager to explore

while knowing how to find our way back
and the one who would be waiting on her stool, by the widow,
in the kitchen, in the sunlight, pealing and baking, baking and pealing
to the tune of the radio and the whirl of the twin tub

waiting for one of us to find our way home.

I remember you, as you grew older, today and every other day.


All words by Damien B. Donnelly


Today is my Grandmother’s 12th anniversary. She now grows in the garden of the hearts of her family.  




Here in this garden
beneath the trunks of trees, towering;
like funnels stretched to sun, suckling,
under a lid of leaves,
little leaves, light leaves,
the leaves of grass,
precious petals procure colour,
caresses of colour bursting bright
as if tempered by a tenuous touch,
like tears on the angel’s cheek at night
no longer seen, no longer heard,
colour, crawling through the chaos,
fragile flickers of faith
falling under footsteps.

I hear the heavens wail as you walk,
walls falling under flattening feet
as what was light and life
returns to soil,
fowled and foiled from strife.

We are all petals in the garden,
in this garden of greed and glory,
looking for a leaf to live under,
as we unfold the shrouds of our story,
ravenous to raise our arms to the sunlight,
striving to be seen in bolts of colour, bright,
breathtaking colour,
brilliant colour,
before we fall under foot
and return, once again,
to the waste and the worms
already twisting and turning,
already sensing our scent,
so confident they are
to conquer our carcasses
when our dreams are done
and our names carved into cement.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly