HUMBLE AT THE HEART

 

Humble at the heart of this landscape,
this dreamscape I’m training through,
I’m taken by its blossoming breast;
forests firing like volcanos that have shun their rest,
luscious leaves of lava sweep through cities
for man has no control over the mountain
just as nature has no defence against the molten flame
as fiery as the kimchi I’m trying to comprehend.

This one’s a little more digestible, you tell me
but I know you’re teasing as you toss with your own truth.

Beyond our feasting over meals
bigger than bellies but smaller than budgets,
skyscrapers shoot up over mammoth mountains,
a competition that man has no time to master
while in homes, humble, calmness is harboured
to the shore instead of clutter to sink beneath.

Humble resides in the heart of this Republic
once ravaged, often raped, now a melting pot of mystery;
many foreign feet of soldiers stamping
have dug their shadow into all that still somehow shines.

Museums have wings for Japan and China
and those Mongols who molested these mountains
still standing, still growing, still calling us to come
and climb and see the world from another side.

We come to the call of the mountains,
all sweaty chested and dosed in awe,
my heart is held at this height,
it trembles beneath this fragile flesh
and I hold on tighter to each grip of grandeur
and wonder how long my footprints will be cemented in this soil.

From here, high above the crow’s nest,
where Buddha rests with all that remains,
where fortresses have been forged and since forgotten,
these cities sweep away from who they were
and show themselves as who they are becoming.

We are not who we were
but what we have made
out of what has been,
in dusted days,
done to us. 

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly. This week’s theme was South Korea which I travelled through last year when everything was being questioned; my relationship, my former partner’s dysphoria, our own identity, my strength, literally and emotionally, my breath, the first introduction to a panic attack on top of a volcano at 5am while waiting for a sunrise that was not as exceptional as the attack which I thought at the time was a heart attack (yes, I can occasionally be dramatic; you should have seen me in the hospital entrance area when they were trying to tell me it might be very expensive to come in and be treated as a foreigner while I was telling them it might be worse if I died in the middle of their corridor) . All in all, the country, its peace and people and proximity to me at the time, left it a beautiful mark. It was the toughest time and the most precious. Buddhas, blossom, beauty and an understand of breath.

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

DANCING IN THE CURRENT

 

I am posting a link to Dancing in the Current, a new blog from Exploring Colour‘s Liz Cowburn. Her husband Nigel took this photograph and afterwards both Liz and I wrote poems based on our interpretations. I originally posted mine last week but wanted to show you the three pieces together, Nigel’s photograph along with Liz’s poem and mine. I am so pleased how our work has intertwined despite the distance between France and New Zealand. I wasn’t able to reblog the post directly so I have copied it here but you can click on the link below to be brought to the original post…

https://dancinginthecurrent.wordpress.com/

Liz’s post:

Drawn To The Light. Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

The St Clair’s Piles, St Clair Beach. Taken by Nigel Cowburn 31 January 2019

My husband Nigel took this fabulous photo when he was on the beach at sunset, at St Clair. I love the view of the piles seen against the esplanade lights reflected in the wet sand. In fact, I was moved to write a poem and also invited Damien B. Donnelly to do the same. Damien lives far away, in Paris, and yet he wrote a remarkably perceptive poem. Here both poems are published together, with Nigel’s photo.

Nigel works as a Landscape Architect and blogs at  Growplan


Survivors

— Poem by Liz Cowburn

[piles’ perspective]

Sentinals of the sand,
we stand

Driven deep to defend
this beach

Regimental relics – we resist,
persist

Fight for footing! Look to the land,
the sand!

*****

[my perspective]

Battered, beaten by tidal terrors ‘the breakers’
— bowed but not cowed

Centred in a century’s swirling currents,
St Clair’s piles sink, subside…

Yet… THESE SURVIVE !!!

You can see Liz’s original poem post here:

https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/survivors-poem/

Her new blog is: https://dancinginthecurrent.wordpress.com/


THE  WEIGHT  UPON  THE  WAVES

— Poem by Damien B. Donnelly

And in the tide
tight with time and its turning
they left their posts,
impaled upon the sand,
impressed upon the land.

And there they stood
ten in heart and ten in tide
for time to tend,
impaled upon mind,
impressed upon mankind.

And on they marched
up the land and on from shore
for evermore
impaled upon their wain,
impressed upon the flame.

And out with wave
woe on water and touch from time,
tormented years
impaled upon the crest,
impressed upon the chest.

And on they went
refugees in search of root
swept along the shore
impaled upon with tears,
impressed upon with fears.

And on it goes
those who run and those who can stay
and those who are lost,
impaled upon the wars,
impressed upon the waves.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly
Link to view the poem on Damien’s blog:  The Weight Upon The Waves


Notes on Damien’s poem

The reference to refugees made a big impression on me. In April 2016 Dunedin accepted their first group of Syrian refugees. Damien wouldn’t have been aware of this when he wrote the poem; I told him later via Comments at his site – the following was his response:

“When I saw the piles and the lights heading off inland in the distance a journey immediately came to mind, the struggle of those who survived, who carry the flames of the hope and the souls of the past; those who were left behind or lost on the journey, the hills we all have to climb and the oceans too many have to cross to seek refuge, I am so glad to hear how Dunedin opened its gates to welcome in a new hope. I think our global commonality is that we are all refugees looking for our place in the world, just some of us have it much easier and a more comfortable journey than others.”
— Damien B. Donnelly (conversation via Comments)


Originally Posted by Liz; Dancing In The Current (2019)

 

Reprinted by Damien with permission

FALLING

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 17.56.27

We twist and turn
as we tumble
into each other
away from ourselves
we are creature curious
entangled and entwined
in what others can offer
touching and tasting
trying hard to remove
the I’s from the us’s
we are covetous
we are envy
we are want
we are greed
we are ricochets
rocketing to-and-fro
between what we are
and what we crave
we twist and turn
and turn again
to the something new
the something shiny
the something still unseen
we twist and turn
and then we fall.

All words and layout by Damien B. Donnelly

ALL THAT REMAINS

I walked to you today
Along the rocky shore
As the winds roared
And the rain fell,
Soft upon my face.
I walked to you today
In hiking boots
And specs of snow,
Though hills and dales
And pools of tide.
I walked to you today
To where you stood,
To the cliff you’ve claimed,
To the earth you’ve clung to
Through the raging storms,
Through the dawns and deaths,
Through the hope and hurt,
Through the tides and tears.
I walked to you today
Now but a shadow
Of your once gallant glory,
Now but walls of stone
Devoid of laughter and life,
No roof to cover you,
No door to open you.
I walked to you today,
A ruined remains
Of all that once was
To remind me
Of all that still can be,
To reassure me
That not everything
Must be lost to the raging sea

FRAGILE BEAUTY

Fragile beauty

Caught in the garden,

Flickerings of ruby red

Tenderly unraveling

From garlands of green

Amid a day

Named ordinary.

It is the fairest pleasure,

The simplest suggestion of perfection,

Nature unearthing itself

Onto the world

And yet

It is the easiest

To crush-

A cry of crimson

Carelessly caught

In the chaos

Of our calloused hands.

We are the blossom

Of our dull days

And are no more

Imperishable,

Unbreakable,

Immortal

Than a rose

Risen one day

To be clipped the next,

Never knowing

How a season can be

But a minute,

A year

But an hour,

A lifetime

But a day.

We hold the beauty

In our fragile fingers,

Careful we must be

How tightly

We clutch our lives,

For only in our hands

Can we shape it,

Share it

And ensure

It survives.

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THE STRUGGLE

To be a poet of
The heart and mind
Is to step away
From all that is close
And to look back
From afar.
To struggle
With the truth
Of what we are told
And to search for
What we believe.
To fall on the road
And document the struggle
To stand again.
To be torn from
The heart of your dearest
By the changing hand
Of that very heart
And find a place again,
In your own, alone.

To breath again
And remind yourself
To do this daily,
To look into the dark
And, in blindness,
Search for the light.

To dream at night
While accepting
The reality
Of the coming dawn.

To open your eyes
To an unknown world
When you were safe
In the one you’d accepted.
To wander
The lonely road
That you must take,
Alone.
To cry,
To shed your pain,
To cleanse your body,
To clear out
So as to move on.
To sob
In the face of beauty
And smile
In the midst of horror
So as to live.

To travel
The mind’s horizons
And discover the bounties
Hidden in its depths
So as to release the poet
Inside lays within us all.

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