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

BOOKENDS; AMATEUR STATUS

 

November rains in a park, trying to be an artist,
attempting to capture it all in quiet corners,
beyond earshot from anything daring,
sheltered in shadow instead of off in adventure,

thinking I’d found myself but it was safe, fake lies;
a pacifying of the ego, trying to paint a Pissarro
in a Paris park with colourless pencils, not suffering
for art but suffocating in the subject that surrounded me,

your multi-layered character was a daunting place to start
adding colour to this blank canvas, I was but amateur
attempting astounding, dabbling in shadow and shade;
more lifeless than lit, more stilled life than filled with life.

One million options beneath my feet waiting to be walked
and I picked the solitary seat, in the shade of a Saturday,
in a park, in Paris, a spot speckled with strokes of life
but my own form had yet to be found within the frame.

I was as lifeless as the simple scene I had sketched
but I hung you on my wall nonetheless, as a reminder
perhaps; fast movement was needed least winter winds
would wipe this foreigner as forgotten before begun.

   

Words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. This is a month of looking back at my life with Paris in order to start moving on. I wrote this poem at 23. I was 22 when I first sat in le jardin du Luxembourg and tried to painted a canvas with colourless pencils.

RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS IN A PARK ON AN ISLAND BY A RIVER IN PARIS

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city,
this morning, where the stream found a stillness
and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance.

I stood beneath the bridge
that took the traffic and its tension far from me
and found the swimming swan rising higher in the stream,
the follow-on from the floods that now seem so far
with these skies of blue, speaks of colour
in a park, on a Friday, in February,
where an artist once came to paint.

A park, in Paris, on an island,
by the Seine, where the waters wash with colour
when you look beyond the shadows, a new rise
basking in the glory of what was once regarded
as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness.

Straight and tall, shiny structures shoot up,
like soldiers, by a stream ever in movement,
ever following the route,
today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign
of an age the river has outrun.
I see trees towering tall in waters,
once rising, now falling, still strong, still weathering
the storm, still willing to be remembered, like an artist
captures beauty, captured beauty, in a park,
once, on a Sunday in a time since parted.

Nature is not in our control,
nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,
will not drown in these days of destruction,
will not worry, as we do, will not bend
but will let life flow around it,
in hope, in harmony.

In a park, on a Friday,
on an island, by the river,
in jogging shoes and sweatpants,
I ran through days already distanced
and tried to make connections between the road
winding onwards and the trees rising upwards, like the water,
rushing onwards like time, ever at play with its participants,
with all that it connects, with benches for the breathless
to recapture breaths and wheels
to help us follow the stream.

And in the windows
I saw reflections of those towering trees,
never to be forgotten, blue of sky in the beauty of light,
light and harmony, colour and shade, captured in what is new,
a hint of what knows the bounty of age.

And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,
I stopped and saw my reflection in the gentle waters
and in the waters saw colour, colour and light,
by a boat, in a park, in a city ever changing,
where an artist came to capture it all on a Sunday,
a simple Sunday, not a Friday but a Sunday, searching
for something between the shadow and light,
between all that will fade and all
the rest that cannot stay.

   

All words and photographs of Ile de la Jatte famed by Georges Seurat by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost for a week considering creation and how it flows around us

IMG_9664.jpg

RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS ON A PARK, ON AN ISLAND, BY THE RIVER, IN PARIS

 

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city, this morning,

where the stream found a stillness 

and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance

 

IMG_9687

I stood beneath the bridge that took the traffic

and its tension far from me

and found the swimming swan

rising higher in the stream, 

the follow on from the floods that now seem so far

with these skies of blue, speaks of colour

in a park, on a Friday, in February,

where an artist once came to paint

 

IMG_9689

A park, in Paris, on a island, by the Seine 

where the waters wash with colour

when you look beyond the shadows

a new rise basking in the glory of what was once regarded

as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness 

 

IMG_9690

Straight and tall,

shiny structures shoot up, like soldiers, by a stream

ever in movement, ever following the route,

today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign of an age 

the river has outrun

IMG_9692

I see trees

towering tall in waters, once rising, now falling,

still strong, still weathering the storm, 

still willing to be remembered, like an artist captures beauty,

captured beauty,

in a park, once, on a Sunday

in a time since parted

 

IMG_9693

Nature is not in our control,

nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,

will not drown in these days of destruction,

will not worry, as we do, will not bend 

but will let life flow around it,

in hope, in harmony

 

IMG_9694

In a park, on a Friday,

on an island, by the river,

in jogging shoes and sweatpants,

I ran through days already distanced

and tried to make connections

between the road winding onwards

and the trees rising upwards, like the water, rushing onwards

like time, ever at play with its participants,

with all that it connects

 

IMG_9697

 

With benches for the breathless to recapture breaths

and wheels

to help us follow the stream

IMG_9698

And in the windows,

I saw reflections

of those towering trees, never to be forgotten,

blue of sky in the beauty of light, light and harmony,

colour and shade,

captured in what is new, a hint of what knows

the bounty of age

IMG_9699

And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,

I stopped and saw my reflection

in the gentle waters 

and in the waters saw colour,

colour and light,

by a boat,

in a park,

in a city ever changing,

where an artist came to capture it all

on a Sunday, a simple Sunday. not a Friday but a Sunday,

searching for something between the shadow and light,

between all that will fade and all

that cannot be fazed. 

 

Over a series of Sundays, in this park, on this island, in Paris, Georges Seurat painted Un Dimanche apres-midi a l’ile de la Grande Jatte. Stephen Sondheim later brought life to the characters within the painting and connections to the artist who died before the world recognised the talent he poured over his canvases in the musical Sunday in the Park with Georges. A few years go I wrote this poem on my first exploration of this little island, less green and more concrete now than in his day, but still with dots of colour and light and harmony…

Georges.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, a simple park

on a Sunday, in the summer.

Colour,

he painted colour 

in that park; clear, considered

untainted, untampered

colour, 

specs of colour,

rays of light 

in a park 

on a Sunday, in the summer 

in a season of details, in a salon of specifics

under demands to consolidate, co-operate. 

Colour,

he saw colour,

a canvas of light and colour,

a carnival of colour.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, on people,

simple people, working people, 

fishing people, fidgeting people

not polished people, not posh people.

They buried him

in a park,

another park, 

a quieter park 

but still with light and colour.

They buried him 

and then they buried his son 

and then another,

life and death, 

father and sons,

children and art,

children or art but only art survived.

He saw colour 

on a Sunday, in a park, on an island, in Paris, 

to the left of it’s center 

and there he made a difference.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BONNETS AND BURDENS

 

We should dance, he said, as she passed,

Dropping the shovel with one hand, taking

His hat with the other, sun bleached

And straw weaved, but there’s no music,

She answered, but there’s no one watching,

He replied to the crimson cheeks

Of her porcelain face, neath a crimson bonnet

And he reached for her hand and his arm

Took her waste and his nose found her scent

And her skirts began to rustle and the cords

Coursed through the corset and the branches

Behind them turned movement into melody,

For a moment, in the sunshine, in a park,

On a Monday in May while he watched her

And wondered how long she would stay,

I won’t always be a gardener, he whispered

To the curve of her neck, to the twist of her ear,

To his work weary hands, battered and bruised,

To the part of him who longed for a wife,

But I will always be a widow, she said to herself,

As she smiled and left his hold, and the trees

Stopped their singing and the man picked his shovel,

This stranger, this gardener, this man who heard music,

This man who brought beauty to life, but the bonnet

That she wore was her husband’s favourite,

The dress, the last gift he gave, so she walked off

Alone, in the park, on a Monday, with her grief,

Which was all she had left.

 

All words and pictures by Damien B. Donnelly