Hold hope
hold tight

hold on
to what you can


not to get lost
not to let go

not to sink
into the great divide
between you and I

the canyon
that cradled us
without the grandeur

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



In the uncertainty
between the darkness
and the dawn
there is the gentle dream
of what might
one day
in the wings
of the new born bird,
with feathers still unfurling,
there is the fear
of that first flight
still to be flown,
in the page
that rests before me
there is a story
begging to be told
between the weaving
of words
I’ve yet to find,
in the first kiss
I place on your lips
you may taste
the real truth
of why
one day
I’ll have to
let you go,
in every house
not yet a home
there are walls
newly mounted
waiting for memories
to fill in
the cracks
already forming,
in the taxi
we took together
to somewhere
since forgotten
I held your hand
and thought
of someone else
long departed,
in the woman,
not yet a mother,
breathes the ties
already tethered
to the child
she’s yet to bare,

in the waters
broken with new birth,
in the air
that echoes our secrets,
in the fire
that drives our desires,
on this earth
that we tear through in taxis

there are songs

we’ve never heard
we’ve never known
we’ve not yet rejected

still waiting to be sung.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in Tarragona Zoo, over looking Sydney Harbour, Sydney, NSW.

Audio version available on SoundCloud:



Behind the darkness,
before the morning wakes,
I reach for you, one last time
and accept all that must fall away
in the light of our lies and mistakes.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph: Light flooding the Hato Caves on the Dutch caribbean island of Curacao 


I thought it lonely
To be together
With so much standing
In between,
But now,
In this solitude,
These moments tick
Like echoes
Of what’s been lost,
Like laughter
Now fading,
Like love
Now separating,
Like the time shared
Now a fragment of another life,
Another hold we let go of,
Another force to fragile to fight.

I though it lonely
To be together
But this solitary life
Is not the picture
I wanted to paint,
There is too much still life,
All but lines and lessons,
No rhythm,
No reason,
Only a melancholy
In its lack of movement.

Black page,
Blank canvas,


I drifted away once,

Carried off by a delusional dream

Of how it all could be-

Consumed and captured,

Completely confused

And so far removed

From everything


And intrinsically valuable

That I forgot for a while

Who I was,

What I had

And how to return.

I was swept away once, long ago,

By everything I’d ever imagined

That I lost sight of everything

I’d ever had or held.

I’d cast myself somehow

Off into an infinite ocean,

Driven to dive deeper by desires

But only to find that down deep,

In the dark,

Every excessive dream loses luster

And fades forever

Amid the fathomless

Faith of the forgotten

But alas,

I did not wake until the bottom found me

And roared its laughter in my ears

And then,

In those too few precious moments

Of understanding-

When the truth finally surfaced within me,

So deep below,

Every movement made to swim back

To the comfort of your shoreline

Sent such ripples all around me

That I lost sight of where you actually lay.

Will you ever know how the sorrow

Grows within me

As time passes

And we remain


I let myself drift away, once,

Only to fail later in finding favor with the shore.

If I were an ocean

I would send ripples

Through the waters

To warn you of my sinking.

But I am mere man,

Trapped inside a body

Of drowning emotions,

Looking always and evermore

For that selfishly forsaken shore.


The Wonder that was You

Are we alike-

I ask myself?

Could we ever be linked


Today, any day,

As Mother and Son?

Can we even claim

Those titles

Within each others eyes

Having spent

All our lives


Or rather-

All of mine

Since that cord was cut?

And yet, I wonder

Do ties still bind?

Did it hurt

When we

That were both united

Were parted?

How was it to give life

And then watch it

Being taken away?

Do you still consider me child-

Your child,

Your first child?

Or were there others that followed

Who remained by your side?

Are you mother now

To others-

Do you wrap yourself around them

As you once,

So briefly,

Wrapped yourself

Around me?

Do they know

Of my existence

Or not at all,

As I know not of bother or sister-

Another title I dare not claim.

You should know

That I am happy-

That I’ve known joy,

Can you feel it?

After all, it was you

Who gave me the life

To live it-

The one who grew within you,

Who has developed without you,

Who has walked onwards-

SInce birth,

Though ever increasingly

Away from you,

Who has spoken

Often of you

But never directly to you,

Who grew to know love,

In part,

Because of a single decision

You made.

When I see you now-

Deep in my mind-

It is far from the fantasies I once

Envisioned you in.

You are more balanced

In realism, today

Than the childhood dreams

Of Queen in a tower

Or Star on the stage.

That I live-

It is due to your sacrifice,

Those 9 months-

A lifetime to the child that you were-

A child carrying

A child within,

But still,

You gave me time-

Body and soul,

You gave me the chance

With spirit and pride

As you waded through whispers

And rose above rumors.

I’ve had a mother-

Since we parted,

Since leaving the comforts

Of your swollen belly-

A mother who moulded me,

Minded me,

And moved me

With a thousand remembrances

Of your gift to her.

A woman who knew the sacrifice you had made,

Who’d cried the same tears you shed,

A woman who made me grateful

For the Wonder that was You.


Adapted to Adoption


Removed from you,

I hear your words more clearly.

You failed to understand me,

You neglected to comprehend my lack of questions

For the one from whose tribulations I was born.

What understanding could I have of myself-

When I failed to understand who I am?

And yet- my love removed- see this:

See the woman-

still wet from birth-

Look upon me with swollen eyes

And say goodbye.

See this woman embrace her child-

For all too short one silent moment-

And say goodbye.

Do I feel her pain today-

Or was there any there at all?

What does she think of me today-

Or does she think of me at all?

What right do I have to invade her life

To awaken her present to the wounds of her past?

Hers was the choice-

not mine.

Hers was the loss-

not mine.

Hers was the sacrifice-

not mine-

Not me.

So do not question me when I do not question myself.

Oft’ times I shall wonder but ne’r shall I intrude.

Old wounds have healed and in my hand the knife shall not turn.

I was embraced by others

While she said her goodbyes.

I have been loved by others

Since she relinquished her ties.

You make me laugh as I sit here alone,

You make me wonder-

Could you ever understand who I am?

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly