IN THE PLACE OF WHAT ONCE STOOD

 

Robin rummages in the rushes,
upon rock she roots out traces
of all that once was, tuts at all
that has changed and all that hasn’t.

Robin rummages in the rushes,
bright spark- but fast to flight.
She comes to call and comprehend
but never comes when she is called.

A fluttering of fine feathers
on front of old familiar fields
where the tracks have been pulled,
where all prints have been ploughed

but there are marks, still- fine folds
where the grass leans in, just so,
in suggestion of what once stood
in its way, of what once stood

in the field, beyond the rushes,
just a recall beyond the rock
where robin comes to rummage.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

ALWAYS THE LEAF

 

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.  

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Thank you, Nana

We carried you,

Like a child, that day

As Spring shone around us

And the flowers took bloom

And I wondered if April

Had ever seen so soft a day?

We carried you,

Like a child, that day

And traced each and every journey

We’d made with you along the way,

On busses and trains and airplanes

To foreign towns and holy lands-

Your presence more beloved than the coins you always gave.

We carried you,

Like a child, that day

And remembered

Every knee you had bandaged,

Every tear you had dried

And every belly you had filled

With your apple pies and custard bakes

Fresh brown breads and coffee cakes.

We carried you,

Like a child, that day

As red roses fell

As fluidly as the waters over Niagara

While a breeze brushed our cheeks with a kiss.

We carried you,

Like a child, that day

Your body as weightless

As it was lifeless

While we covered you over with the red petaled ground-

But now we carry you in our hearts forever more.

Mistake me not;

This is no goodbye,

This is just a simple way of saying thank you.

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