BRIGHT LIGHTS IN GARDEN PONDS

 

Stars dance at the bottom of the back garden
where the rain waits in shallow ponds
for the earth to lick it dry.

Reflections are dependent on position-

you cannot catch the moon lying on the ground
from the front window where the sun lingered
a little longer today than the tear stained back
where stars tickle the empty earth we’d since weeded
while the moonlight’s absorbed by the shallows
never deep enough to hold the right answers
to the questions the imagination is too distracted
to decipher.

Breakable is dependent too on position and how we transition-

will the earth lick the stars from callous pond,
here, in the back garden while I sit trance-like,
in this window of the empty sky,
turning this piece of plastic over in my hands
to pacify panic, counting the intakes and holding…
one, two, three, four and then out… releasing
for a second longer like the sun that lingered earlier,
in the front, while I was out digging holes
in the earth at the back,

trying to get closer to the cure-

plunging pressured palms down into that hellish heat
to dry this pond of trapped starlight, allowing them
to rise again instead of dying out here,
on this empty earth.

There are times I want to quit this place, these concerns,
this kitchen, this garden, this land, this planet,
this moonlight and feel what it’s like to burn
through eternity and not just lay here,
waiting to be licked.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

THE RABBIT AND THE OXYMORON

 

I am still so you can move

You twitch
when you think I’m about to turn

I view you as delight and you define me
as demonic

You glow of late
like the recently planted grass
in the side garden of sunlight that used to only sit
in shade

Coming closer to brave with every beat
you come out faithful to the evening’s song
when shadows are longer and stiller

and skip over blossoming blade

I make lists of where to walk and how to step
later, afterwards

so as not to thread over the freedom
you press upon that patch

of newly grown blades of soft grass.

Blades of soft grass. Movement amid all the stillness.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

ORIGINAL SONGS

 

Here now, flown back to nest since moved in absence,
these streets hold no shadows of my former shyness,
they do not call me by nickname, or your name.
I was never open enough then to be called by your name,
their name, his name, back then when there was no him
and barely a me.
Here now, back to where they began, before me-
their nests, their streets, their lanes, their stories
I’ve since borrowed, not knowing much of my own,
those told before me.
Funny now, to be here, in this nest, perched on this position,
you say it’s home and there’s truth in those words
but it’s like saying we’re family- this was never my home
and our blood is not the same.
We look out at the same land, the same tree, the same leaf
but we do not perceive the same stars at night
when the garden is gone and the universe asks
where did you come from?
We are what we believe. We come back to what we know
regardless of where we’ve been, of who we’ve become.
Of where we started. Adoption can be a cold word
to begin with.
I came from a broken shot off cupid’s bow where a single tear
flooded the moonlight as a siren screamed and one other,
lost to her first song, called out for another chance to hold
a snowflake in her hands. We were both born to sing
in seasons different to our own.
I came back on a wing’s turn to question the concept
of a nest, of where feather first found flight, I came back
older, taller, wiser, to look at youth from this odd angle
of middle age, to look at connection from the perspective
of having already left the nest, to sit, here now, in this garden
freshly trimmed down and cast this bird’s eye view
over where the roots were first planted
and who laid the first twig.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BLOOMING SHADES

 

Everything is cyclical like sunlight and seasons
and hair styles and hemlines. Everything is cyclical.

I found you at the first turn- a pencil line on a blank canvas
by an academic of fine fashion with a fringe of falling violets,

it was the back side of the Botanics, at the later side of winter,
all grey, even then, back in my untasted youth, even there,
surrounded by all that should have been blooming green

but I just saw the shadow between the black and the white,
the empty bench in between the bark, not the blossom sitting
a frame away, left side, across the bridge, more to the main path.

Roads, wood and diverges and me-
always looking for another way out.

Everything is cyclical like creation and country and going out
and then coming home again and again. Everything is cyclical.

I found you recently, again, on a green day, later, when my hair
was greyer but my soul a sway more centred towards the violet.

I stole a piece of you, this time, on film but when I looked back,
after coming home, I noticed how I’d caught you in that shade,
that former shade found in between the black and the white.

Everything is cyclical like births and blossoms and sometimes
belonging and sometimes colour when it’s blooming grey.

 

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All words, drawing and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

OWNERSHIP IS NOT ALWAYS THE ONLY CONSIDERATION

 

Squirrel scuttles across the sea of grass.
Stops to my right to consider someone else’s acorn.
Mouth twitches to mimic tail before I’m noticed.
Embarrassed by my presence he adopts a still stance
as if that might make him invisible.

Don’t worry, I whisper, I can relate.
Once I found lips too sweet to miss and kissed them.
There in the open. Knowing they were not mine.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

COME THE GLEAMING

 

New leaf climbs old tree-
this ivy will not be held
down is no direction,
dynamic is the trail of this root
now gleaming on the hallow wood.
Sometimes empty centres are for holding
hopeful hearts.
Layers of leaves come like coats of zinc-
a wrapping for these times were comfort is craved.
Nature nurtures freshly cut back bark
by the side of the garden
where thought had been neglected.
Not everything will survive-
not all bark, not all breath,
but hope, when held, can be as simple
as a trail of fresh branch
born around a broken bark.

 

Words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

A SINGLE DAY IN THREE PARTS

 

Part 1

Morning
comes with birdsong these days
instead of street cars and sirens,
Blue Tit and Yellow Hammer
next to daisy, daffodil and dandelion
as the garden springs like never before.
Part 2

Afternoon
is found at the far end of the near field
because distance is dearer now as we take
slow steps around all we once overlooked
to see what this unsettling light can reveal
along those old paths life lost time for.

 

Part 3

Night
comes with gentle lights that dance
in windows, flames reaching out further
than the stretch of our arms, to touch
other souls at the far end of other fields
recalling old paths while wondering
what tomorrow’s birdsong will bring.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

FREEDOM IS A WISH ON THE WIND

 

I steal
deep into space, in the far field-
inches are miles these days
and miles can hold worlds.
I kick
imaginary balls into empty posts
and run tracks that dig circles
around the turns I cannot take.
The eye spots
white specs, like snowflakes, dancing
on the far side of deep ditches-
daisies making their own chains
while
les dents de lion
cast their own wishes out
into a breeze that knows no boundary.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

FIELDS OF GOLD

 

Gold grows in many ways-
like how the soil can be pressed with seed,
how a daisy decorates that which has been deserted,
how the sun burns at a safe distance
or at least it did, once.
All is relative, now, to time-
I didn’t know what ozone meant as a boy,
or Wifi or gluten free or panic or pandemic
but there were days when I could have cradled distancing
when school corridors closed in too tight
on skin that hadn’t been taught tough.
Gold grows in many ways
as we find a new rhythm of crossing over into fields
once forgotten where daises make waves instead of chains
and farmers strive to find fortune
for us all in fields of food.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

THE SHADOW OF LIGHT

 

Light
is changeable.
Can be changed.
Exchanged.

We cut down stress
in the back garden of our woes,
in the back garden so neighbours
cannot see our fears spread out
across the lawn.

We stew it out
in solitude so we can shine later
after the dust has found its antidote,
after the touch is again tolerable,
after the new grass grows over
these rotten weeds.

Exchanged.
Can be changed.
Light is changeable.

We sit,
this evening,
in the late light of the kitchen
behind the glass partition
and watch the sunset.

Its last light
changing everything it touches

into shadow.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly