Papa was a stranger, stranded, in an otherwise happy home; a simple man,
a grumpy man, a man behind the papers; the sporting Sun on Sunday
and the Herald on a Monday before the news, nightly; 6pm and 9,
a modest man of meandering manners with inside-out sweaters
on Saturdays while he washed the car clean, the van clean,
the bike clean; spotless, blameless, blemish-less,
as if remembering someone, sensing someone
behind him, inside him, tormenting him
as if hearing someone commenting,
criticising, pointing and punishing.
Papa was a struggler, a stranger strangled
by harmless affection, by tendencies of trust,
fleeing and failing the obligation to feared family
and fleeting friends as if running from all connections,
as if unsure of what to say, how to hear, who to be and how to stay.
Papa was a shadow of someone, a stranger to himself as much as me,
the warden in the window, the watcher from the window, behind the blinds,
taking notes behind the lines, lines I could not see, lines I could not cross.
Papa was stranger, stranded, a wearisome worrier watching the world
through the window and on tv or was he watching the world
just to understand just how he could be understood…


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Human Nature

There are moonlit nights

On sandy shores-

Barefooted and barely clothed,

Worries washed away on waves

And troubles left for other days.


There are soulful nights

In firelight lost-

All Red-wined up and caught in kisses,

Drunk in love and wrapped in arms

And blanketed in each other’s charms.


There are lonely nights

When loves away

And nothing known can soothe you,

Till comfort calls you on the phone

And reminds you that you’re not alone.


There are other nights

Dark and distant-

All sleepless in the shadows,

As silly, stupid, stubborn slips

Cause listless lies to leak from lips-


Those long dark nights when tongues are tied

And troubles start to tremble,

When sanity is cast aside

And the sense of self dissembles.

When the one you thought you knew so well

Can look to you a stranger,

While the world no longer looks the same

Before the truth of human nature.