LEARNING TO CLIMB WALLS

 

There can be earthquakes
in little towns,
far from tectonic plates,
on little streets, rarely shaken
where we sat, once,
on the wall of a garden
now obsolete,
the summer burning
through our cool-lessness
as we trembled beneath attractions
we didn’t have the words
to understand
while eyes watched from windows,
trying to translate
thoughts tossed
between their local boy
and a sandy-haired student of exchange.

And I wanted to exchange-
to uncover
all that was growing curious.

We sat on this wall, once,
in the kiss
of youth’s sunlight,
in the stifling days
of undulating adolescence
and the growing tension
beneath every question,
and that temptation-
and I wanted nothing more
than to touch that temptation
despite our twisted tongues
and those eyes
always watching, always wondering
what was unfolding between us-
two boys just beginning
to join the colours that made blue,
for a while, beneath the weight
and the worth
of all the nothingness
that never trembled
for longer than a month in the summer
when our legs
occasionally touched, like tectonic plates,
shifting positions beneath
all that was once solid,
sensations rubbing up against
all that we wanted
and what, I suppose we knew,
at the time, we could never really have.

There can be earthquakes, in little towns.

  

All words and photos by Damien B Donnelly

A SONG ABOUT THE SPIRALS

 

The circles spiral.
Goodbye is not a definitive swan song.
Time cannot be buried in a single spot.

Early evening
and the sun no longer sets in this kitchen
that watches the seasons turn without comment.
The sills have new shadows we have not yet named.

This morning broke over fallen feathers
and for a second I caught the silence your song once filled
You lay where the grass had barely grown green,
below a tree where we’d placed a bird box
in a garden where a bunny used to come to play at night.

When the sun
shone the brightest
I took your dignity and covered it with a gentle blanket of earth
and placed the bud of a rose by the breast of your stilled chest
in the hope that circles do spiral,
that a root can find a home on a wing that once found flight.

Sometimes faith needs to be released before it can be returned.

Later, after naming those shadows before the sun set
and another spiral closed and then commenced afresh,
I watered that spot in the freshly turned earth
as another bird found its place to perch
on that bird box where you once sang your song.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

THE RABBIT AND THE OXYMORON

 

I am still so you can move

You twitch
when you think I’m about to turn

I view you as delight and you define me
as demonic

You glow of late
like the recently planted grass
in the side garden of sunlight that used to only sit
in shade

Coming closer to brave with every beat
you come out faithful to the evening’s song
when shadows are longer and stiller

and skip over blossoming blade

I make lists of where to walk and how to step
later, afterwards

so as not to thread over the freedom
you press upon that patch

of newly grown blades of soft grass.

Blades of soft grass. Movement amid all the stillness.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BOOKENDS; YOU MUST FINISH WRITING THE STORY BEFORE YOU CAN PUT A COVER ON THE BOOK

 

So many sunsets.
I kissed you goodbye but forever never followed,
I thought us broken but we were just bookends
looking for a final story to stack between the regard
and the lack of regret.

I kissed you again, later, after leaving, after returning
but before going, again, and the water stopped.

I caught our reflection for a moment, in all that stillness,
in all we had held of each other but then I blinked
or you rippled

and, all at once, we were done.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This month is about reflections. I moved to Paris, the first time, when I was 22 and stayed for 2 years and then circled back around to this city of shadow and light again at 40. This year will be the final chapter as I pack up the boxes and consider Ireland as home again after 23 years. Who knows if there will be another story to tell of us one day…

IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN KING

 

Sun shines in the valley
where the sun king came to stay,
shade is shy in the valley
at the king and queen’s hideaway.

Shadows slip through the valley
down from stars to under stairs,
some secrets slip through the valley
whispered from lips of concrete heirs.

Sun shines in the valley
on swans now savage at swim,
the sun shines in the valley
though the peasants weren’t allowed in.

Shadows sneak through the valley
through the greed gathered within,
shadow is splitting the valley
like guillotines cutting through skin.

Sun shines in the valley
as gold from the fountains flow,
the sun shines in the valley
where follies fade and legends grow.

Shadows sleep in the valley
along paths where tourists thread,
shadows are stuck in the valley
like dust on ideals long dead.

Sun shines in the valley
as Apollo rides the waves,
the sun shines in the valley
and drowns the suggestion of slaves.

Shadows stretch through the valley
pressed into promises made,
shadow is song in the valley
on benches where kisses once laid.

Sun shines in the valley
in the Sun King’s palace of pride,
the sun shines in the valley
where they often came just to hide.

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Reposting this for 14 juillet (Bastille Day, French National Holiday) 

I took a break recently to deal with some life challenges, health issues, panic attacks and to edit my novel (after receiving an extremely positive critique from an interested publisher) and then ended up getting distracted by planning to move country at the end of the year so have not been around for a while ( I am sorry to have been away for so long and also sorry to have missed your blogs, I will be playing catch-up over the coming weeks after a trip to Ireland) but I am still here, and will be back…

In the meantime I am re-blogging a few older poems.

Hugs and good thoughts to you all, DamiX

AT THE SETTING OF THE YELLOW LIGHT

 

I held your hand
in a taxi, once,
while thinking of another
as you whispered into my ear,
a sound I no longer remember,
a scent now a breath away from touchable.

I cannot hold everything anymore,
not everything nor everyone.

I recall the yellow light
yearning to hold its own innocence
stretching through the window
burning hands still holding onto a truth
that had turned away from white,
I remember the highway
that hurried us out of the city
as I wondered if I’d packed enough hope
for us both.

But I cannot hold everything, anymore,
no more. The elastic cannot be recalled,
the weight was too wearisome
for just one heart.
I hope now to hold clarity, to hold happy,
happy to be free. Happy me,
now lighter, brighter

reaching out for that plant pot
with its purple petal planted, long ago,
in a garden I am returning to.

A garden where I will sit
and watch the dance of the dandelions
till the yellow sun has descended,
where I will empty all the jam jars
of their collected lies
and draw the sound of the moon, at last.

   

All words and photography by Damien B. Donnelly

Penultimate poem for National Poetry Writing Month

MEDITATION UNDER THE YELLOW SUN

 

I wanted to draw
the sound of the moon
on a sun-drenched beach
stripped down to white sand,
white wave, white skin
starved for affection.
I wanted to draw
the silent sound of that moon
as the chaos of the current
crashed down on the crowds
clawing at each other
for a moment
below the spot of sunlight
that burnt them quicker
than they could contemplate
a commitment to content
while I sketched
the white light circling the night,
even in daylight,
even in the terror and the fright
that twist through the lyrics
these lives lived on the edge
of the sinking shore
will forever be linked to.
I wanted to put onto paper
that palpable possibility
of holding stillness while all else moved,
of leaning into the moonlight melody
while the daylight drowned out thought,
of holding silence in a song
while the sand surrendered
to the will of the shore.

I wanted to draw
the sound of the moon…

that sensation of being surrounded
in a single sway of stillness,
a solo seduction of strings
pulling me towards the white light
at the centre of the night’s clarity
as the yellow sun strips the sea
from the sand.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

3rd poem for National Poetry Writing Month 2019

ESCAPE TO THE SOUTH, FRAMING FRANCE

 

A weekend in Marseille, Frioul, Cassis and the hills and beaches of Calanque…

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Frioul Archipelago

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Marseille seen from the Frioul and the island of If, from The Count of Monte Cristo

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Vieux Port, Marseille 

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Calanque

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View from the restaurant in Calanque 

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Calanque de Sugiton

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Backstreet of charm in Cassis

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Pastis before brunch

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All photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

WE ARE SEASONS

Spring sun sweet on skin

that still recalls the rain,

(it is not just raindrops that fall)

drunk is the forest beneath

those blood red moons

(blind are we to the fires we started).

Will you swim through the shadow

to beat away these bitter blues?

Beauty is a ship of summer symphony,

we are whispers to be worshiped

before our season stops to sing.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly with the help of the magnetic poetry oracle.