IN OR OUT

 

Lilium lancifolium lies back
in a bed we repositioned
last spring under the scorch
of today’s mid-afternoon melt.

In a slow movement that set her
into structure, before the dawn woke
the rest of us, she assumes a position
to demonstrate the perfect pliancy
of her freckled petals and pushes
everything out to be eaten.

Next to her majesty, in the sluggish
shade of a white pot on the worm-
twisting soil, succulents seal in
all they will ever need to survive.

Somewhere in between I, myself,
am planted with all that I hold vital
willingly caged within these ribs
not even I can open while my fears

sway like stamen from this skin
as I pray for the wind to soon
introduce them all to flight.

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All words and photos by Damien B Donnelly

THE SWEETER SONG

 

Dominant bird rings on repeat his call
in the late afternoon- arriba, arriba,
arriba he appears to echo whilst other
feathered fellows join in his mash-up
as if they all know the price is now

time sensitive-

this has become their season to shine-
they sing and we sit in their shadow,
the quiet of our confinement seemingly
sweetening the juices of their melody. 

 

All words and photos by Damien B. Donnelly

THE STING

 

9 is not yet known to this Sunday morning
but already I’m playing catch up with the dawn
in a once foreign field now renamed home,
running after breaths and age that is unobtainable
like caressing clouds or surviving on the sap of stems
where needles immerse nettles in a loneliness
we have come now to understand
as we make small steps out of the reeds of isolation.

There will be a telling later, after, in how we survived
the conservation in place of consumerization.

Will we continue running to catch up, later, after,
with all we lost or come out to shed the macho master
of the world masquerade and realise we’re all nettles
standing in the shadows of much brighter flowers,
our skins stabbed with too many stings
to truly get close to the truth of who we could be.

 

All words and photos by Damien B. Donnelly

GIVEN TIME

 

Rushes rustle a calling to the rain

mimicking
the sound
of those
molecules
of moisture
they long
to feel
against
their
sharp-
edged
skins.

We all
learn
to mimic
what we
must,
let go
of all
we can
not
hold,
lean in
to what
we love,
fake all
we can
not
feel.

Gulls
squawk
overhead
for prized
position
whilst
wings
spread
out
to claim
all that
eventually will come down from the clouds.

  

All words and photos by Damien B. Donnelly

 

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THIS HISTORY OF A HOME

 

I live now
in various shadows
and only a few whose forms I’d distinguish.
By a round tower
on a little hill
at the far end of a short road
I can read the names of the first ones
who named this place
as a home,
I’ve no faces for these folk
who were whispers even to my own mother,
the mother and father of her father
who is now but a whisper to me.
The bag man he called me
till he passed on when I was 5.
I remember
saying goodbye
to his bald shiny head
in a dark room with brown walls
and a glass atrium you walked through to get to him.
Now he walks beyond the glass
while I’ve come back to the rooms
that once held his warm voice and soft shuffle
along with his wife, my gran, my nana
with her cardigans
and concern and coppers
for the collections in the church
and later, in the summer-
for outings to the slot machines
where the train comes
to an end at the edge of the sea.
All things have endings, even waves crash.
Nana is now
in the grounds of that church
she gave her coppers to, next to her man,
her Pop, real name Bernard- my middle name.
All things come back
like days
after darkness,
names that we lost
and laughter after loss
and then mothers to their mothers,
like mine did when Dad lost us,
and sons to their mothers,
like I did when Paris said adieu.
Adieu- to God, it means. Funny way to say goodbye.
All things come home, like me now
in this house,
now my mothers,
once home to her mother’s sacred heart
and her father’s devilment,
once the home to my mother’s grandparents
and her brothers and sisters
and the cats and the dogs
and the odd chicken
they kept in the pig-cot that never held a pig
where the boys stored all the pears
they’d pilfered from the orchard.
We planted
rhubarb last week
and a sprig of wild spinach
I’d plucked from the edge of the savage sea
in the back garden of this little house
where the shadows watch over us
in various forms
that I’m trying to distinguish.

  

All words and photos by Damien B Donnelly

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

 

BOUND

 

You draw my attention from pondering path
like thoughts collected in a well-worn carpet
and make me wonder, as with love and hate,
which came first- bark almost buried to blind
or the sweet lie of this lichen grown around
your years as if you where

the whole to its being, the breath to its lungs,
the furrow to its field, the ground to its grass,
the comfort to its carpet,

the last shout of its happiness.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

A SONG ABOUT THE SPIRALS

 

The circles spiral.
Goodbye is not a definitive swan song.
Time cannot be buried in a single spot.

Early evening
and the sun no longer sets in this kitchen
that watches the seasons turn without comment.
The sills have new shadows we have not yet named.

This morning broke over fallen feathers
and for a second I caught the silence your song once filled
You lay where the grass had barely grown green,
below a tree where we’d placed a bird box
in a garden where a bunny used to come to play at night.

When the sun
shone the brightest
I took your dignity and covered it with a gentle blanket of earth
and placed the bud of a rose by the breast of your stilled chest
in the hope that circles do spiral,
that a root can find a home on a wing that once found flight.

Sometimes faith needs to be released before it can be returned.

Later, after naming those shadows before the sun set
and another spiral closed and then commenced afresh,
I watered that spot in the freshly turned earth
as another bird found its place to perch
on that bird box where you once sang your song.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

THE NEW NORMAL ROUTINE

 

Input-
daily. Early morning.
Wake up to bird call and input ideas for the new day.

Run. Write. Weights. Wash.

Garden. Grass. Weeds. No Smoking.

More Chopping. Manic. Now move indoors.

Pottering.
Pacing. Painting and onto poetry.

Moving out again from bedroom.
Old room. Once far room. Cold room,
where someone died once, before I breathed.

Moving out into adjoining kitchen.
Baking time. Breaking time. Music. Movement.
Being allowed to be berserk.

Leave fears to bake in the oven. Maybe burn.

Let the lowering light have the moves.
The dance moves. In this kitchen.
Here, at the end of day.

Another day. And another day. After the input. The output.

The routine. The new routine. For the new normal.

Making moments count.
Because berserk
is only for the moves and not the mentality.

 

 All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

LIMITATION OF ROSES

 

I had the biggest bedroom as a boy
but curiosity picked the box room
at the lighter end of the short corridor
for my summer’s sojourn.

I was always looking for other walls
that caught the shadows of other lives

being lived-

to touch the thought, at that time,
was tantamount to taking part.

The biggest room was back-side,
the garden view of rising roses
trying to escape the bordered beds
and their own threatening thorns,

but the box-room was front facing
for those teasing summer nights
where people passed and paused
and the paths were so portentous-

diversions to drive daydreams
further than those beds of roses
that never made it any further
than a dull brown glass vase
on the small sitting room table
where we rarely found time

to entertain.

 

 All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly