A DEER BY A DOLMAN IN DUBLIN for Poetry Day Ireland

   

It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This years theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…

A Deer by a Dolman in Dublin

Where you there, all the time, I asked myself,
for I have not discovered the powers of hindsight,
as our words wove like the wind around the whispers
the woods were once witness to?

Where you there all the time, I asked myself,
in that soft spot of spirit in the fold of our minds?

I had whispered, along the way, as feet caressed
the crumbling clay, as a heart trembled in a throat
that tried not to tumble through words,
I had wished for a grace to ground us like that curve
of concrete on the caress of the mound that grounded
what had once grown tired into the ground.

You were there, all the time, I told myself,
as I caught the river as it cast reflections
of trees rising up and roots growing down
and I realised we are not just man,
we are not just the mound we lay beneath.
We are inseparable, like these reflections
sinking into the stream, we are not one,
but the other, not beast or beauty, but both,
finding our way along the water to a bed to call comfort.

You were there, all the time, a dear Deer, by a dolman,
in Dublin, listening to our songs of the living
and the loving and the dreaming and the dying

laying our poems on paths already pressed
while the deer stood and wondered who would come next?

   

All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly

SHADES OF BLUE FEATURED ON EXPLORING COLOUR

 

Today my poem Shades of Blue is featured on Exploring Colour, the beautiful and inspiring blog from Liz Cowburn; https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/shades-of-blue-2/

It is featured alongside a powerful poem of loss and being found from Kay McKenzie Cooke entitled Found. Kay’s blog is https://kaymckenziecooke.com/

and a stunning water-colour painting of blue irises by Jodi McKinney from the blog https://lifeinbetween.me/

Liz has curated this little collection exploring the positivity of the colour blue while sharing two sides of the adoption spectrum with the help of photography from her husband Nigel.

Please take a moment to visit the blogs and explore the beauty and colour of painting, pictures, poetry and precious voices…

 

Dami X

 

I CAN DREAM AND YOU CAN LOVE: A KEVIN BATEMAN SPOKEN WORD EVENT

Last Saturday at 2pm in Ireland, Dublin, in the Phoenix Park, in the shade of a house and in the shadow of a tree in the sunshine, Kevin Bateman gathered together a group of poets for his latest spoken word event ‘I can Dream and You can Love‘ which went out live, as usual, on periscope and every poet was revealed there and then, no pre announcements, no listings of performers beforehand, as is so usual in these days of social media. Kevin indulges ingeniously in the mystery of the moments that unfold when a name is called before the camera rolling and their words fill the air and travel across the skies.

His choices for these locations are often sacred grounds, off the beaten track, forgotten by guide books and now, thankfully, reclaimed as the performances unfold. This last location in the Phoenix park was on the Hill of the Mariners were one of the oldest dolmans in Ireland is located, Knockmaree Dolman. Discovered in the 1800’s, two bodies were found in the tomb which dates back to almost 3500bc and the bodies were suggested to have been sailors, hence the name Hill of the Mariners. Watch the show and you will hear how it took Kevin almost 10 years to find this dolman that has been left to hang beneath a shadow of a tree, in the stillness of the silence, sometimes in the sunshine, often in the shade.

For this event, Kevin gathered 8 poets including himself and you can watch the video which had over 1000 views on Periscope in the first 24 hours of its life. The links below are for Periscope and YouTube.

The poets, who all performed 4 poems, under a theme of love, dreams and the current climate in Ireland, were, in order of appearance;

Kevin Bateman (on Twitter as @Bate_Kevin) drew us into the crime controlled streets of Dublin while leaving us tender with the line ‘…do not let the dead rest in photos, let them move on…’ from his poem A Room of Utter Sadness.

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Supriya K Dhaliwal (on Twitter as @supriyadhaliwal) painted for us a cornucopia of Indian colors and tears and whose poem Meet Me in the Morning on No Man’s Land will long linger in my ear as a beacon of hope.

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Jasmina Šušić enthralled and captivated us with her raw emotion, passion and her willingness to drop the guard and share her gentle side with We are Soft Animals but Our Hearts are Weak.

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I was lucky enough to be invited to perform among these precious talents which made this the first time to ever read my poems in public, to ever read in public! I read 4 poems which you can find here on my blog…

Spelling Peace https://deuxiemepeau.blog/2017/11/19/spelling-peace-day-19-of-a-month-with-yeats/

Carved In https://deuxiemepeau.blog/2015/12/05/carved-in/

Salmon Dancers https://deuxiemepeau.blog/2017/11/03/salmon-dancers-day-3-of-a-month-with-yeats/

Wilful in the Wild https://deuxiemepeau.blog/2016/07/27/wilful/

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Jessica Traynor (on Twitter as @JessicaTraynor6) struck a fire in our historic hearts with her gem of a poem Matches for Rosa, for Rosa Luxembourg and brought us right up to date into an Ireland of today, questioning the right for individual choice with her poem Tender Butchery, my own skin still shivering with the powerful line ‘…the world has no business wearing my skin.’

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Catherine Ann Cullen (on Twitter as @tarryathome), along with her ever listening dog,  carried us around the world on the triple spirals of the triskele and took us out and under the harsh waters of homelessness by the Royal Canal in Dublin with her poem entitled Flood, ‘…and they flooded the walkway… so she might float out of sight…’

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Eilín de Paor (on Twitter as @edepaor) pulled us in with unexpected treasures found along the way, a nod to lasting impressions still loved though lost and ‘an intimate poem for such an outdoor area’ Island Life where a woman surrenders to ‘…each suckling lap…’ of the first wave of motherhood.

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Maeve O’Sullivan ( on Twitter as @writefromwithin) also brought us to India and returned us to Ireland through two bejeweled haiku sequences and grounded the force of an ocean of love in the sonnet Fathomless ‘…the twist of your hair in my knuckled fist…’

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Periscope link: https://www.pscp.tv/w/bVcMWDFlUkV4cVlWVnhQUXd8MXZPeHdBTFhwRE1HQs6p0u7wzeWUvfUmOmse42HeaA_-COCeSHxdhfL9zQuH

YouTube Link:

Extra photos of the group are curtesy of Harry Browne who can be found on Ficker.com

And you can just see the deer above that was watching over us from the not too far distance…

AN UNOBTAINABLE NEED, A SHORT STORY

 

He stands in the shadows, staring out the window of his one bedroom suburban house onto the street outside. The late afternoon sunlight skirts the jaded red carpet as if looking for a way out. An old typewriter gathers dust on a desk next to stacks of unwanted, and seemingly unworthy, manuscripts. A breeze blows through an open window, filling the room with a sense of unease. The laughter of children playing outside occasionally drifts in and out, breaking the eerie silence. His gaze is upon these children and lately, his thoughts have been incapable of leaving them.

A bachelor all his life has meant no chance to have children and with his 86th year approaching, the possibilities seem to have fallen away like the blonde hairs that once covered his balding head. Although his chance has long since faded, his wish for children is something that will continue to haunt him for as long as he hears the laughter.
As his life draws to its climax, his spirit itches to move on from this existence and yet his fragile body continues to breath and he remains staring out a window, nurturing distant dreams that are now as futile as the pages on his desk. Manuscripts that he had hoped would fill the void in his life and yet all he could bring himself to write about was that very void. A void that nobody wanted to read about. He is now become a prisoner trapped inside his own body; a body that has changed while his feelings have not. He doesn’t remember growing old and yet his frame has welcomed it. No longer standing with the poise of a young man, his back now slouches forward, his pace has slowed and all movement has become an effort. There is little on his body that is familiar to him any more.
The mundane pattern of daily life tries to convince him that he is settled. He settles daily into his cream cardigan, his brown slippers settle unto his feet from morning until night. His pleasures are all but dead, except for his smoking, though even that brings a chesty cough. Alone in his house, he is noticed by no one because life has passed him by. His aching body no longer fits into the momentum of modern living. He takes one final glance out the window before climbing the stairs with legs no longer capable of climbing. On a single bed, he rests until dinner. The children continue to play outside on the street.

He tries to go for a walk everyday, but who can go far with legs that want to rest. Resisting the temptation not to, he forces his legs to take him past his neighbours who watch over their children with the usual parental intensity. He watches them run when their little ones fall over and hold them tightly as if to smoother their tears. The moment shared by parent and child is filled with so much love that their bond is almost visible, as beauty is to fragility, as love is to loss, while alone he simply clutches a cigarette. They barely notice him anymore. He is the old man who lives in the old house with the old curtains and the musty smell. He wanders on, past the school playground where again children laugh and play and, watching from behind the wire fence, he feels isolated. He lowers his hearing aid. With no sound, the visions are less painful, but for all too short a time. When the scene needs no sound to hammer home the truth, he moves along, continuously smoking and pent up with jealousy.
He passes the graveyard where voices jeer him from deep inside his own head.
“It will be the end with you, my friend. Your grave shall be bare but for you. No one will continue your name and none shall follow yours on the tombstone. When you go, your name will be no more; for you are the last.”
This is the place that hurts the most. This is the place where green eyes drown in bitter tears. He has been here many times lately, dressed in his black suit, bidding a final farewell to others like himself. But there were always children huddled together on these occasions. They may have been adults, but they had always been children to their parents, in the same way that a single lonely old man can only be a single lonely old man. When the inner voices mourn too loudly, he moves on, using each headstone as a morbid crutch. The hardest truth to accept is that which lies directly in front of you. Waiting.

Epilogue

It has been one week since his 86th birthday. A single card rests on the mantle piece; a sympathetic token from the local Meals on Wheels. There is not a sound in the house, all is quiet. No one looks out from the shadows, no one is haunted by the sounds from the children outside. Junk mail collects in the letterbox. The last of the evening sunlight just hovers in the hallway, creating ethereal shadows in the musty air on the stairway. Upstairs, on a single bed, there is a single body surrounded in silence. In his room, there is not even the sound of breathing. His body is lifeless. His name will continue no more.
All Words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in the gardens of the Musee Rodin, Paris, France