BOOKENDS; SLOW MOVING SORROW

In the supermarket
on Saturday
in the 14th
on the 14th
in numb November
in Paris, their Paris,
our Paris, my Paris,
people push grief
in comfortless trolleys
down shadowed aisles
of silence, strangers
claiming their spaces
in solidarity, in queues
of slow-moving sorrow,
seeing shadow in places
where once there was light,
terror in crowds
where once there was music,
death in their streets
where once there was life.

In a supermarket
in the 14th
on the 14th,
as the numbers rise
on a Saturday morning,
there is nothing available
on a single shelf
to fill the void
of what we lost
in the night.

It’s not the whole world,
it’s not the end of the world
but it’s far too far from a perfect world.

 

All words by Damien B Donnelly

This poem was first featured in Nous Somme Paris, published by Eyewear Publishing to commemorate the Paris attacks of Friday 13th Nov, 2015.

BOOKENDS; BOY SO BLUE

 

Sitting in a park in Paris, France as kids
climb trees they’ll soon outgrow and birds busy
their feathers in a dance of freedom we’ll never know.

I fall through thoughts as someone tickles strings
on cords too distant to be discovered and wonder
where you sat; on the orange carpeted concerns
of the girl growing through her song of sorrow?
By the guy with the hat and harmony, probably,
the guy guarding his guitar from the bright light
of the, as yet, starless sky as if he knows already
how celebrity will one day cripple his creativity.

A blackbird bows before me, burrowing burdens
into the road, looking for crumbs since cast off,
for a little refuge, like you did, like we all do,
looking for a little distraction from the circling sun
and shining skins blustering under bland or blander.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France, as if in a trance
from 22 to 42, recalling how I first found favour
with following you; back room, no light, bedsit;
we were masters of the Marais, simple singletons,
senselessly sinking innocence into the marshes,
courting kisses of single sparks and rising over losses
we thought at the time to be insurmountable disasters.

But they were just dances, like these tiny birds
around me now, prances we perform, up and under,
over and through. We are all naked birds flirting
with honesty and invisibility under a sweltering sun,
sometimes recalled, sometimes forgotten before begun.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France, still trying
to understand the message in the melody
underlying and still trying to comprehend
the cords forged in the flesh of the boy so blue.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. 

This month is about Paris and letting her go. This photo was taken at the garden on front of the Musee Picasso, in Paris where I lived in an apartment right next door at the end of the 1990’s with a young Irish girl who introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell. On my return to life in Paris in my 40’s, I wrote a series of poems, while sitting in parks during the summer, based on the albums of Joni and this was a nod to the album Blue. Like tattoos and all things that stick.

This was the original self portrait I used when I first posted this poem as Joni painted or photographed all her album art…

IMG_9257

SUNKEN SHIPS AT SEA

 

And down fell the sun
and drowned within the sea
and rough raged the wreckage
as the sailors tried to flee.

And down fell the sun
as a storm claimed the skies
and water stole the rafters
and silence crushed the cries.

And down fell the sun
as the sirens swam to shore
and laid down the bodies
of the lives that were no more.

And down fell the sun
and a sorrow filled the air
as the sirens sang their song
combing cords through golden hair.

And down fell the sun
as their tears flowed like waves
and they kissed the fallen sailors
on the sand, now their graves.

And down fell the sun
as the sirens said goodbye
to the men mortal men who loved them;
the sea’s sad sirens who cannot die.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is a poem from the A Month with Yeats Series

CHRISTMAS COVER UP

 

In the shadow of all its history,

in the sorrow behind its sparkle,

I sprinkle fairy lights on the drying roots

of this dying tree.

 

At the summit of all its beauty,

from the forest freshy felled,

I place a blood red rose on this tree

cut down from hope.

 

All words and photographs by damien B. Donnelly