IN MOTHER’S GARDEN

 

Mother,
the path has been puzzling and there are patterns now,
penetrating patterns once thought impossible, entwined
around veins, like vines that vie for vittles’ on walls
already wavering, on buildings bare as if each brick
banished is a breath broken,
Mother,
I carry more now than before but fragments have flown,
not yet cremated but I’ve scattered ashes over mischievous
maestros who tussled tarnished tunes along my tissue,
who cut cords, crude and often crippling, who leeched
the lyrics from my limbs when I thought a relationship
meant relenting to the rhythm, when I thought love
was a note never ending,
Mother,
we’ve seen how sacrifice can separate mother
from her making, little girl blue you had to give up
and woman who had let me go, the root cut from rose,
adapting far from the garden of creation, but we adapted
to adoption as if it wasn’t an option, as it wasn’t a question,
for there was always a connection,
Mother,
I see you with the bud of your womb now returned to you
as woman, your vines reattaching as nature intended
while I rarely regard the roots of my own becoming,
still too busy looking up and over, looking always
for the next interchange, questioning every other connection
in a garden scattered with those ashes, the bush burning
as the blossom still blooms,
but Mother,
I’m more you than the woman who made me, I am
more product of the carer than sewer of the seed who
so long ago saw the sacrifice in her own soil
and replanted my life in your warm embrace,
Mother,
I’ve seen stars setting fires to skies in other lands
where other oceans wash over other sands, stars
that still fade, though they are far, sands that still sweep
into all-consuming currents while populations ponder
the same problems as stars flicker out and time slips
through our hands,
Mother,
I’ve seen money makers in plastic palaces following
white lines to narcotic nirvanas as if salvation
was snortable, I’ve seen wiser men, on the sojourn, in India,
blind to all light, perhaps shielded from the fight,
holding tight to a smile that has slipped from our grip
with eyes still able to trap the light, with hearts too hungry
for more of more of more, polluting once stubborn seas
as we rape other roads, take other fruit from other gardens,
while blind men begged for nothing and saw more
than I could ever imagine,
Mother,
the days are now shorter and even before night
falls there is less light that falls and people are crying
in the streets, the flowers are folding and retreating into
the dirt as if hell might be better, Mama, people are dying,
dying in discos and in diners and in school halls
where they should be learning to be better, not leaving blood
behind on broken desks and chalkboards with equations
that don’t add up because the book has been swapped
for the bomb,
Mama,
there are horrors happening now, not yearly, but daily,
one chaos no longer fills one book, but one chapter,
followed by another and another with no let up, no
intermission, our gardens becoming desert landscapes
as all that tries to exist is destroyed, as all that was once
deemed right is declared wrong, as all rights are removed
and all races viewed as radicals,
Mother,
they’ve mistaken the mask for the man and they can’t see
though those smiles I’ve staged to still the shadows that line
these lines, these lives played out upon my breaking breast,
pouring like riverbeds raging over banks, over blank pages,
drowning them with tales, twists and turns, loves and losses
that have taken up home below shivering skin,
mostly uninvited, like wild flowers in the garden, like weeds
we mistake to be worthy of their place till the thorns bear
their treachery,
but Mother,
amid the mayhem there are moments magic, there are babies
being heard with first breaths beating, there are skies
singing of the sunrise, there are still sunsets still sweeping
shores where lovers still linger, long after the first kiss,
there are words whispered on winds, glorious hymns
of hope and heroes and there is art, still filling walls
with light and life, there is music and there is, as always,
your smile
Mother,
life is a series of spirals, not just circles, for it elevates
on the turn, not just levitates, for I am back, again,
at the beginning, but frail are the things once thought
familiar in this once foreign land I fled and feared
never to return, in this land where nothing changes
while everything moves and the shadows I once knew
have up and vanished and grass is growing where once
there was concrete and concrete has crushed all
that was once green and grand and 40 is not as adventurous
as 20 but the questions still remain unanswered
so there is no turning back because, as I said,
the vines have entangled themselves around me,
in this garden I’ve grazed in, from a distance, for so long,
pulling across my chest, either aching or yearning,
they are drawing me down, down towards the ground,
down, at last, to regard the roots of where it all began,
so long ago, when I first dared to ask;

Mother,
Will we ever have all the answers?

All words by Damien B Donnelly

Main Photograph of Mum and I in her garden back in 22 July 2002 on her birthday.

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And today, 22nd July 2019, still filling our garden with joy…

Happy Birthday Mum, Love Always

A BLONDE BIRD IN FLIGHT

 

And off she ran
a blonde bird in flight,
a bright baby bird
into the night,
focused and flapping
as if chasing the morning,
as if orchestrating the trees,
as if transported by the breeze
flying over fields of youth,
twists and turns and truth,
folds of frivolous folly,
courting clouds in curiosity,
looking for a reason
to rhyme upon,
a reason to ride on

and she will fly
in spiralling circles
that surround you
before circling you
in widening widths,
further stretches,
further afield,
a blonde bird
but blue to you
and the agony of letting her go
and the ecstasy of having her back
but she is bound
with those big eyes,
those beautiful eyes,
to brighter breezes,
to warmer beaches,
bound for bigger things
like the grass growing
over fading footsteps,
like the trees
towering over ticking time,
like the clouds
wild to the will of the wind,

to far flung lands she will fly
as you sigh,
to other fields,
to foreign fields
to set down findings,
feelings, foundations,
familiarities foreign to you,
foolish to you
but faithful and fruitful to her,
a home in other hills,
a happiness to harbour
in other homes

and then one day
when the breeze beckons
you catch her scent on your shoulder
where it wasn’t there before
and you will find her
once again
in a field familiar to you both.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly