THE OTHER SIDE

 

What is life but a book to read from both sides,
from either end, from all there is to see here
below the constant clouds of consideration,
from far on high where the clouds are carpet
and the stars as close to perfection as we can get,
for midway through this meander of noise
and nonsense, of love and what is left in its place
when it has parted, I am no closer to the correct
question as I am to the unachievable answer.

What is love but a sunlight seen out of season,
a breath to better us when there is no air,
a rainstorm when all we can see is desert dust
sweeping over the highway where our hope
is headed while are we are bound, barely,
to faithful, to fearless, to ferocious, as we falter,
fail and fall and rise again, better for the bruises,
ready for the next round, prepared to bleed out
our lives along this road we are rocking. And still…

I can drink another case of you,
and you, and you, and you, and you…

What is life? What is love?
What is the point in asking?

We are here… happy, hurt, healing.

We have cut through the clouds
and reached the other side…

What more is there to fear?

 

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From my Joni Mitchell inspired series of poems from a few years back.

THE BEAT OF THE BAT

 

The brighter man, the lighter man,
the darker truth, the deeper vein,
bind me to the rough, the real man,
I beat as a bat.
The clearer glass, elusive glass,
the broken bed, the better lay,
tie me to the rider, all night,
I beat like a bat.
The gentle rose, considered rose,
the troubled torn, the rotting root,
plant me in the wild field, riled field,
I beat as a bat.
The sweetest light, the sun light
the witching hour, the darkest night,
pitch me in the rainstorm, windstorm,
I beat like a bat.
The house plant, the tendered plant,
the raging bark, the twisted branch,
nature’s not calm, not quiet, nor I;
I beat as a bat.
An angel rises to heaven’s skies,
bats hang downside, looking inside,
teach me what’s inside, light the dark side,
I’ll see like a beating bat.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is one of the poems from the A Month with Yeats series

COLOUR IS WAITING

 

And still we will come to lick the honey
from the purple petal and still we will come
to root out the weeds of worthlessness in gardens
where others eat up all that is beautiful. Time turns
and we, in turn, follow its path, suns set and the moon
shows us its song, hold hands and then release,
hold hope and then move on, we only own the moment.
Mothers may still hand over their hearts to other mothers
waiting to be wanted, fathers may rise to be fearless
or choke on the root of their own fear, those black-cloaked
women pouring water from windows onto withered plants,
who’ve buried their living bodies in a bitterness
for all that life has lynched from them, will continue
to cry as flames flicker out along the Seine,
like their memory, revealing structure still standing
but soul no longer settled. They will still pour
their buckets of tears down the aging walls of a city
that cannot see beyond its past. If we cannot catch colour
then we too will be cremated in the concrete. But black
is only shadow until it finds a reason to ignite in light,
bark is dry but the branch bares blossom. Eat the storms,
Mother said, remember? Boil the beds of bitter blackness
until the dream rips through the rain and translucent
turns them lighter, brighter. And still we will come
to that lake where language lingers, still we will sink
beneath its depths to slip ourselves from the reflections
we have once worn and now outgrown. Still we will sink
kisses onto our starved lips and still come back for more
after love catches hold of kisses cradled on other lips.
Catch the colour, catch the kisses, catch the life
racing by in taxis, on trains with crimson carriages
connecting moments waiting to be made magical.
The starry night can be a bright light waiting for us
to paint it. Behold how much there is to love, to let go of,
to learn from. Let us be the design and not just the destruction.
Eat the storms, she said, taste the refreshment in the bright
blue rain. Colour is waiting just beyond the clouds.

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All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

30th and final poem for National Poetry Writing Month 2019

ENTANGLEMENTS

There is beauty
and there is decay,
they are gardeners of the same plot,
seeking sustenance from the same sun,
shade from the same soil,
one awaits the wonder of the weather,
the other;
weathered by her ticking thunder.

There is beauty
and there is decay,
they are inseparable,
one holding fast to its height,
the other;
falling fast through its fragility

and in between
their entanglements
is left life
until that, one day, leaves.

All words and photography by Damien B. Donnelly

ANCIENT THING

 

You can bury only bone,
battered and broken,
with a rose to bounce
upon the cut of the coffin,
but this ancient thing
that sways day into night
will not wither as our flesh
falls from the light.
Into the open earth
we cast our demise
as time turns onwards,
even in a box of stilled eyes.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

A KISS OF A WISH

I kissed a wish once

when time was tender as flora,

to swim as I fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

when hope was all that I had,

to be fine as a fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

when cornered by courtiers too curt,

to be free as a fish once,

I wished.

I kissed a wish once

but time was not to be told,

I lost my freedom, once,

but now have wings that unfold.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly

Inspired by a twitter poetry challenge from @WrittenRiver asking us to draw inspiration from the painting of James Christensen above.

STILL STANDING, day 21 of A Month with Yeats

 

Day 21 for Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats and today’s quote is: ‘…by water among the trees the delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh’ —W.B. Yeats

My poem is called STILL STANDING

 

Stag standing

where the river

still ripples,

where the wind

still whips the waves,

where the trees

still twist and turn.

Stag standing

as his lady

lets slip a sigh.

Stag standing,

observing

all that man

once had at his feet.

Stag still standing,

in silent hommage

to the beauty

man once tried to beat.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

ILLUSIONS 

 

Gardens grow,

trees get taller,

clouds gather.
I see you

in the movement,

in the air that rushes past time turning,

in the scent of sweetened summer

now swept into corners now shaded.
Clouds gather,

trees get taller,

gardens grow smaller.
Eden is an illusion lost.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BURNING STARS 

 

We are liars, all and often, lying

in folds familiar, hoping

for holds to fill the failure,

settled into settlements

we never wanted but thinking

something, anything, this thing

is better than nothing, while

the Poet prefers to pen

the pessimism than to perish

with it. And still we are liars,

the pen turns thoughts

into reasons, into rough sketches

and in turn we soften the edges

with subtle suggestions

to make the truth more soluble,

the lie more acceptable.

We are all laying in masks

of mistrust, mistruths, the more

we take off- the more we build up.

Clothes cover only the concept

of identity; eyes can be distracted, tongues

can be thought to taste

what they are told, ‘I am forever,’

he said and she licked his longing

that left her not long after. ‘I am

comfort,’ she confided as she set

her claws into his confusion.

And the lie goes on forever,

like the sky; consistently blue

until it’s black, streaked

with bright stars already burning out.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly