THE TRUTH IN THE WATER for Poetry Day Ireland


It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This year’s theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…

The Truth in the Water

I see you, this morning
in sweeping reflections
in the waters, reflected
in the sleeping stillness
of the morning’s silence

as if the world was looking up
as if the sky had fallen down.

I see a tree, a weeping
sea of a tree, leaning,
reflected in the waters,
reflecting its reflection
into milky mists of morning

and I wonder if the world is truly what I see
or if my reflection is the truth
staring up
at me.


All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly




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 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 



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

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…



he saw colour 

in a park, a simple park

on a Sunday, in the summer.


he painted colour 

in that park; clear, considered

untainted, untampered


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. 


he saw colour,

a canvas of light and colour,

a carnival of 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



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



on liquid lakes

like suds on dishes
like snow on windows

like thicker skin over age old scars.

on rippling reflections

like the tingle after kisses
like the scent after sex

like the pain after parting.

flirts on the water

to divine
whether the depth

is worth the dive.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly