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.

ADA2EA65-BC8A-4681-AB0A-D9C9C7DDB242.jpg

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

Happy Birthday Mum, Love Always

FLUTTERING HOPE

 

Silence surrounds

this sweet stillness,

icicles are falling;

tears streaming

new paths

down old windows

once home

to fading reflections

and the robin

and his red chested breast;

forever stained, forever beating,

flaps through the open field

in search of a hushed hope

in buds that will soon bloom,

in life that will soon turn

below the hardened earth

and muddied soil.

 

We have spilt blood,

been drunk on its bitterness

and still we parch for more.

 

Sweet is this silence;

these mornings breaking,

crisp and cold,

cutting through the layers

we are desperate to shed,

we too are seasonal;

we rise with a spring

and tumble through each fall,

we are hot headed

and cold hearted

when comfort constricts,

melting pain down windows

too frosty to show any solutions

until we are emptied

and in the silence,

in that slowly

sweetening stillness

we are renewed;

ready to cut new reflections

into the smooth surface

of that shatterable glass,

our faith fluttering

on wings of hope.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud

RED CARPET, day 24 of A Month with Yeats

 

I’m running behind on Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats poetry challenge but better a tad tardy than a no-show. Yesterday’s inspirational quote was: ‘We know their dream; enough to know they dreamed and are dead; ‘ —W.B. Yeats ‘

My poem is called RED CARPET

 

We dream

of what can be,

not of what was, we

are here because of what

came before, what we will be

is based on what we believe,

on what we have learned

to be true. There are

footprints already

in place,

already paved,

a path already plotted

by the brave, those hung

by their own hope, those trampled

by the trust they held in the truth. We

walk this road, lined with lives lived

and lost in the fight for fairness,

freedom, friendship, fidelity.

To dream is a given, to

live out our truth is

the right that

was won by

the red

carpet of heroic blood beneath our feet.

 

All words and photography by Damien B. Donnelly

SUNSHINE AND SNOWFLAKES IN MONTMARTRE

sunshine and snowflakes in montmartre

I climbed you today
in downpours
and falling snows,
no snow flake ever the same,
no foot step ever similar,
I climbed you today
in sunlight and stealing shadows,
in strokes of paint splattered in your memory
by artists as foreign as they are familiar,
I paused upon your steps,
your streets of steps,
the steep steps
others have taken,
others have trodden upon,
to take possession,
to take pictures,
to take part, to be a part
of all that once was
and has fallen to dust
through depression
and recession,
no sails blow no longer
to the winds wills,
the winds upon your hills
no longer home to the mills,
no more the spirits linger
green to the fairy’s touch,
spirits are in bottles now,
corked and capped
and cost too much
and the artists now
are but a shadow
of what once was,
shadows for sale
on the site of what once held cause,
on this martyred mountain
in Montmartre.
I climbed you today
in wind and rain,
the past and future present,
in a reverie of what can no longer be.
I climbed you and stood above you
and marked out the steps
I had taken along you,
along your lines and lanes
that lead me here, to this day,
to this moment, to this place
as this snowflake fell,
this unique particle
never to be repeated,
falling through time and space.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 12.45.33

Time slips past
unannounced, unnoticed
age gains weight, adds numbers
carves lines, plots paths
tomorrow turns, becomes today
falls to yesterday
love slips past, everlasting
never lasting
hearts hold hands, change hands
change hearts
I do becomes I can, then I will try
I cannot stay
life slips past
ever evolving, ever learning
as we rise and fall
we crisscross, we get cross
we get crossed off
we get confused, we feel confined
compartmentalised
become complacent, begin to question
what we did, where we’re going
without ever knowing
what happens next…

All words and pictures by Damien B. Donnelly