Blue in the back bar, still drinking

I saw fate
Drunk in some café
Eyes of moon and pretty men
Pretty buttons and a bow tie
Tombs in eyes
A percolator for dreamers
Hiding bottles before gorgeous wings.

Fly away!

Love got lost
In a blue light
Lives in the devil
Pours out like holy wine
A mouth like yours knows your deeds
Stay to bleed?

You are my fate
Fly!

There are limits to what we can hold on to

We pick things, pull things,
up from under, roots, weeds,
things we dropped, things to distract,
flowers to fill the spaces since vacated.
We pick things, pull things.

We keep things, store things,
in boxes, under beds, in sheds,
under sheets; your stool of support
where you watched us, running; out, off, gone.
We keep things, store things

things we didn’t know, then
how much we’d miss, later,
things we can’t pull up, now
no matter how deep we dig.

For my Nana Frances who died 13 years years ago on March 30th but is still very much with us, and her stool too.

AFTER W.B YEATS

 

5 Poems based on lines from W.B Yeats…

‘And I shall have some peace here, for peace comes dropping slow,’
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
W.B. Yeats

Slow Falling

Snow falls behind the glass, beyond the reflections
this window cannot see. Snow, soft as the soul;
a canvas of white fleeting purity, as pure
as that first kiss; always caught, never captured.

Slow falls the first snow as fine as feathered fragility
like that first time, as tender as it was terrifying;
the feeling of discovery, the fear of being discovered.

Slow comes the season, and we are seasonal,
and we too are seized; were we not yesterday daisies
dancing on hilltops, a spring in our step and blind
to the slope, were we not once sensory below the sun,
bonds burning along bodies bare, but now,
beneath the snow, red reigns regal, enfants eyeing
the skies; hushed and hopeful before the innocence
falls from their belief, falls like this snow, this frozen
miracle already melting hearts we’ve had to hide
from the cold and we can be cold, like the morning’s
first breath beneath the crippling clutch of winter
when his touch is too far to find.

Slow falls the snow beyond the glass, beyond the shattered
reflections of a world of riots and reactions, slow falls
the snow and I think of peace and of people parading
under its hush of hope. Snow falls and I wonder
how it would feel to have a season of slow falling peace?

 

‘I wander by the edge of this desolate lake where wind cries in the sledge,’
Aedh Hears the Cry of the Sedge
W.B. Yeats

Buoyant

Is it here where the tears come to find peace
in this place of serenity?
I lay down this lake of loss,
hope for the soil to soak up the sorrow,
by the side sedge I wedge myself
up from the waste and bury all that turned base
at the bottom of this bed,
no longer sheets of cotton comfort but sludge
soon to be swept under, asunder.

Is it here where reality ripples into reflection,
the sinking illusion of what I thought to be
perfection?
An impression of light and shade, now lighter,
now shadier, now just a remainder
waiting for time to submerge.

I lay down in this lake; a lough of loss,
locked, lost,
waiting for the tide to wash over me,
waiting for the tears to dissolve within me,

waiting for time to refine me,
re-find me as buoyant instead of beaten.

 

‘And when white moths were on the wing, and moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream and caught a silver trout.
The Song of Wandering Aengus
W.B. Yeats.
A White Wing Rising

A starlit day, on a distant shore, as if summer had sent it
swarming like a snowflake; silken wings to summon
the sunset, a white moth to raise a sweet soul departing.

And there, as a star was added, the bright moon was kissed
in berry blush as the sun settled beneath the lake
where the lost trout turned through tresses of silver dancing
and he smiled at his love, since lost, now glimmering

in eternity.

 

‘And suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven.’
The Cold Heaven
W.B. Yeats

While You were Dreaming

And as you dove through distant dreams
just beside me, you left to my centre,
I woke to the night sky splitting above me,
the stars were burning, bleeding through
the darkness as the heavens opened,
their gates no longer golden as the
rooks took flight, soaring into my fright
here in this cold night as you tossed
through thoughts and I watched mine
beating, beaten with feathers on fire,
the disparate darkness drawing delight
in my downfall, in my blindness, and you
turned in sweeping motions, your back
to me as I should have done, as I could not
and I wondered where you had wandered
as I was culled into consciousness, frozen
by the flames and shivering, were you
moving through memories we made
or making room for more to come
in other beds, in other arms, and then
befell the bodies, bound, in chains locked,
in flames crying, cursing, trying to pull
apart bonds that should have broken,
and you turned again and your arm
came over my chest and the vision
was smashed in contact, reverie
retreating but the burning continued.

 

And a final poem recalling his unrequited love…

Toppling his Tower

What can I lay by the feet of such beauty?
What can I offer my love on this land?
A garden of roses, omitting the thorns
with this golden ring I hold in my hand.

But a garden of roses, omitting the thorns
is barely enough to garland your grace,
so I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a velvet so sweet to mirror your face.

So I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a cloth of brocade to comfort your cares,
a daylight distraction to hold your attention
from rebels and riots that are not our affairs.

A daylight distraction to hold your attention
to paintings and poems that hang by our side
in a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
of a world lost to power and drunk on its pride.

In a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
and a lark then from the meadow I’ll borrow
so she’ll sing of the stars and the moon that is ours
as we’ll lay in arms and let love sooth the sorrow.

But restless was her soul on the call from outside,
her beauty diminished by the sounds of their cries
and one day he lost her where his paved path divided
and he cut down her roses with tears in his eyes.

I gave her the finest, the fairest and fancy,
I gave her the beating heart of this man,
but she was bound to the call of the lost and the lonely
which now I have become and therein I see her plan.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. Inspired by W.B Yeats 

Today is the 155th anniversary of W.B Yeats. Thanks to Jane Dougherty from Jane Dougherty Writes on WordPress for running A Month with Yeats back in 2016

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FORGET ME NOT


There are sink holes in the back garden

where I stash the stems of subconscious
longing along with feathers plucked
from the stale fights over ownerships
of books and bonds. When early morning
climbs drowned dream with blinding light
there’s an impulse to uncover boulder
used to bury hole and reach in to touch
all I threw out. Sometimes shadows shift
in said garden and the conscious is alerted
in time for consideration to be abated.
At other times, the arm always feels
blighted when it comes back up, empty
and unchanged but for the tiny pleas
the squashed stems have ripped
and rooted into fooled flesh- last shoots
from forget-me-nots I’ve tried to untie.

  

All words and photographs y Damien B Donnelly

 

BETTER THAN NOTHING

 

We ate horse, once, at a corner table
in a candlelit basement at Juuri’s-
everything difficult to distinguish,
in a trend filled restaurant
where I’d blagged us a table
with what you called my Irish charms
that your French ones lacked in buckets.
Earlier, we’d flown across the water
on a large ferry to a small island
where the wind blew everything off us
that was unnecessary as if Helsinki
was surgeon and we- patients
coming into the theatre of life
and learning what it takes to eat a horse
that we thought was a bear.
But nothing is ever what it appears,
under a flame or over the wave.
I sit now in another land,
at another table, lighting another candle
and seeing glimpses, in the flickering light
of who we were, of what we tasted
and what that wind swept off our shoulders
that we hadn’t even named.

We ate horse once, in a dimly lit basement,
all fantastic flesh without a single trace of fat
that we devoured while drawing tales
of more than 100 things we’d do together.
I think we possibly made it past 30.

 

All words and photographs. by Damien B Donnelly

SLOW HUM

 

Slow hum.
Morning beckons-
delicate dance of daisies,
baby bunny in back garden
thinking it’s his whole world,
even the breeze is bouncy.
Breath better than before.
Slow hum
of day unfolding,
footsteps on sidewalks,
sights on slow lanes, softly humming.
Even runners head towards hedges now-
hedge funds thrown to the ditch-
see the bunny bouncing
far from the banks.
Slow hum,
songs from tall trees
in place of traffic, alarms, sirens.
A hushed hum dedicated to the lost light-
birds sing of wings now rising,
nests have grown cold
even under all this sunlight.
Some have flown, others simply slowed,
missing the integration under the hallow hum
of this softly slung isolation.
Slow hum.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BIRD SONG

 

I stroll in soft sundown across the cushioned grass,
the earth a pillow I never stopped to consider,
I consider going in, inside to where the light looks neat
and named but a bird calls from a branch I cannot see,
sight comes in second after his song- soft, slow
and cycling back on itself like time, tide and your touch,
at times. Time was never our lover until it left us,
until we saw how quickly we aged in its agonising absence.

The night holds less time, with less light to cast shadow over,
with less sight to see the hands surge around the circle.
I move in circles around this garden of cushioned grass
while the moon comes out to feed, we eat what we can,
sleep when we must, the birds sing songs and only when lost
do we permit ourselves to stop and ask of the meaning.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

WHEN WE COME TO PRESS THIS TIME UPON THE PAGE

 

Come friends to gather at end of cycle
Spring is done and summer will have new song,
Time will tell of when it all went viral
Of distance that reigned and hold that was wrong.

Come friends to pressure pen upon the page
Thoughtless is time if man won’t leave his mark-
Sing of the stars we’ve lost upon this stage
Yonder moon’s slow to rise so night lies dark.

Come friends as we stand with light between us
Our fighters are saviours in this war’s ward,
Hold a lamp, a candle, come make a fuss
This hope’s not hungry for soldier or sword.

Come friends, let us sing, apart, united
Night is long but dawn will not be blighted.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

THE FURNITURE MAKERS

 

We build things- built things-
like shower rails and kitchen lights,
Keto dishes that died in the oven,
theories on converting Korea into forever
and not just a 3-week diversion from dysphoria.
Kisses, we built kisses out of thin air
and laughter, laughter we built as if
it was all we needed to feed our day.
I was the funny one and you laughed
at times like you’d never laughed before.
Sometimes we built bridges
to cross divides we didn’t always understand,
sometimes we built boats but forgot the oars.
Sometimes we built temporary positions
around sofas and shallow shows to balance
the shit we didn’t have the correct tools
to deal with.
Once, we built a language
to lock ourselves into while on the outside
where it could be cold and cutting and callous.
Sometimes we built walls
for the other to climb over-
sometimes we liked to test the other-
to tease, to taunt, to attract, to test
the recoil of the elastic.
We build things- we built things-
like shower rails and silly meals and signs
and languages and kisses to complete
and sometimes we built walls
though, in the end,
one was too high to get back over.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

Photo from an art installation in Jeju, South Korea

WHAT LIES IN THE VALLEY

 

Truth, lies, tall tales spread across the canyon
of our sighs. My hope, your hurt, my side,
your silence, nothing is distinguishable in this void,
I cannot even identity any let up from the winter
of this valley where the wind winds its way around
the silent subtleties of how you express your hurt
and how I hold my hope- foolishly, foolish, fool
or fooled. We are both breakable and some parts
dissolvable while riding horseback across this canyon
whose cracks are cavernous, two cowboys believing
more in disguise, in the delusions and so we sweep
into such deluge. Somewhere, in between this valley,
somewhere, down below this wind, still tangible,
there is a bridge that crosses the truth of our lies,
bashful and broken. But we don’t want to find it

anymore.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly