BOOKENDS; EVEN IN A CITY THE CROWS CAN COME TO CLAW

 

On a Monday, a muse filled‬ Monday,
a sky-blue clarity carries me ‬
like the water would never the river
from the sea back to the source. ‬

My footsteps are still steady,
still stepping up on the spiral,
but memory can be mischievous
and, on the turn, I twist
past that door, long since shut,
by the temple with its turret staircase
where saint Therese tittered on the timbers

and I wonder if the sunflowers
I once painted onto its lifeless walls,
before I uncovered Vincent’s darker visions,
are still visible beneath all the time
that has grown over it since I put them there

at 22?
This, I think of, here today,

at 44

while growing and ageing and twisting
and turning from the call of those crows
that try so hard to claw at creativity. ‬

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This month is about looking back in order to move on. An Irish girl named Therese (who introduced me to the music and magic of Joni Mitchell via her Casio keyboard) and I first lived in a little apartment at 98 rue Vieille du Temple, in Paris, in 1998 where I painted sunflowers on walls that never saw any sunlight. It was my first home in Paris and we had no idea at the time that crows were anything more than something to contrast the cotton candy clouds.

THE IRISES OF OUR EYES

 

Crazed caught on canvas, caught in colour,
thought tempered in sweeping strokes,
we can be carried away in seas of grass,
coral greens awash in the garden,
catch the canvas before its fold finds favour
in other fields the mind has yet to fathom,
we can be crazy. Quick comes the crow
upon the harvest, bleak beacons,
art is not always to be understood
nor the artist always allowed the freedom
to express; we want cream walls
and canvases to comfort the canapé,
expression doesn’t always please the pattern.
Crazed comes to life on canvas, see
how he called to us; potato faced pickers
pealing in broken browns, aged in ochre,
acrylic is not a cover up, the canvas is not
a vision of vanity, even the sun flowers wilt
before the irises of our eyes. Fields, fields,
far flung fields of amber grain, far from home,
far from fame, trying to catch the elusive light
bearing down on the bails of honeyed hay
before the black wings hanging in the horizon,
painting eyes, other’s eyes for us to learn from,
to weep for the long loss after the colour
no longer connects. Quick, catch creation
before it catches fire, before it ricochets in a bed
in Anvers-sur-Oise, electricity only illuminated
the intensity, insanity is not always sedated
after the shock. Colour cannot be captured
by constraints in a brass bed with brown
leather straps. Colour is conveyed on canvas,
in connections, in the bend the brush makes
to blend, in the waves the stars twist
into that night sky, in the lines of letters
to brothers who know us to be better
than the light sometimes allows.
He was a captive to the colour,
a captive to the canvas, to the voices
dark and distant, cut it off and the voices
still come a calling. Capture colour
before they caption you as crazy.

     

All words and paintings by Damien B. Donnelly

34th poem for National Poetry Writing Month