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Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
"...MORE FULL OF WEEPING..."

In the bedroom
from which he first

saw snow falling...
...snow now falls.

He watches the ghost
of his young self

press his face
against the glass

snow sticking
to his reflection.

Amazed that a world
can fall

into such a silence
hide itself in a white quiet.

Snow falls
in the old bedroom

where his sister recited
his first Yeats....kissed him goodnight.

Snow clings
to peeling wall

blown against
the remembrance

of things long ago
forgotten.

Snow covering
his lost sister's voice

"...for the world’s
more full of weeping

than you
can understand..."
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
SA DERNIÈRE NUIT SUR TERRE

Lipstick kiss
on glass & cigarette.

The cigarette
still smoking itself.

Curtains billow into the room
as the night sets sail.

Moonlight slides
over rocks.

The music sticks on a scratch
adrift on a sea of shellac.

The music stutters.

It appears as if she
has just left the room

or is just about to
return?

The clock gives time
a good ticking off.

It is a long way
down.

A seagull
screams.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
AND THE WORLD WAS AS SIMPLE AS SNOW

You are like. .  .all

the dark shops of my childhood
where you enter with the little ****** of a bell

and the world blossoms

into a myriad of things colourful to sell
stacked in impossible & impeccable order
all yelling shining glinting wild & glassy
and the cash register singing with the hard earned money

and the little ****** of a bell lets you out again
into a world

excited with the falling of  snow
& the palpable approach

of  a Christmas when Christmas was Christmas
and the world

was as simple as snow.
Dec 2020 · 32
THE MEANING OF LIFE
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
THE MEANING OF LIFE

"How old are you exactly?"

""Now?"

"Yeah currently!"

"I've been alive for 15,641 days!"

"How long is that?"

"Oh about 375,391 hours!"

"Or to be more precise... 530 full moons after my birth..."

"So, you're 42?"

"Yeah, I guess...if you look at it like that!"

"And you like Cigarettes After ***?"

"I only know the one...Nothing's gonaa hurt you baby."

"What 'bout you?"

"Oh I'm more a Cowboy Junkies type of guy."
Dec 2020 · 35
LOVELY MORNING...ISN'T IT
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
LOVELY MORNING...ISN'T IT

It was the first day
of the end of

his life.

Although he was not
to know that.

The door opened
into the morning

a portal made of sunlight.

He stepped into it
as if he were about to be
transported into another planet.

He stepped into it
with a lipstick kiss
on his left cheek and

the next step
was his last
it all happened so fast.

One minute
a ***** laugh
then a last goodbye.

An hello to her
next door
"Lovely morning....isn't it!"
Dec 2020 · 32
SMALL GOD
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
SMALL GOD

Time was
cheap.

It lay scattered
all around

like shattered
Spring sunlight

tangled in hedges
or hung from trees.

There was almost
too much of it.

As if one small boy
could ever use it all up.

There was no end of it
as if there was only now.

Now, this
forever.

And so appeared the world
when I was 7.

A heaven
here on earth

that didn't need to be
prayed for.

Sunlight genuflected
to me

as if I were
the small God

of this
very moment.
Dec 2020 · 49
HIS VOICE IN WORDS
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
HIS VOICE IN WORDS

It was a sunny day
in Wales

as it can only be
in picture postcards.

It was pinned
above her bed

but with the picture side
facing the wall

as if she had turned away
from that scene a long long time ago.

I had only ever
seen it once

(when she was asleep
I took a peek)

a scrawl of words
told her that it loved her

in a fadey violet ink

that could now barely be
discerned.

The postcard itself
as fragile as a leaf.

“Don’t turn it! ”
she pleaded in panic.

“I like to see his voice
in words! ”

running her fingertips
over his I LOVE YOU!

letting it speak
to her

from the fragile fading past

letting it speak
to her

even from beyond
his death.
Dec 2020 · 25
ON THEIR HOLIDAYS
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
the ocean had disappeared
from view
probably on its coffee break

or whatever oceans do
when we
are not looking at them

the mountains were silent
now
their noses in the air

when the humans had gone
they chatted amongst themselves
wore stupid looking clouds on their heads

the littlest mountain tiptoed
nearer and nearer the ocean until:
". . .bOO!"

"God" gasped the ocean
"Ya nearly put the heart
crossways in me!"

the ocean sulked
ignoring the mountain's jeers
gazing at its own horizon

the ocean said nothing...nothing
did not even utter
a single solitary seagull
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
CLIMBING TREES IN HIGH HEELS

the swish of her
dress as
thigh crosses thigh



the static electricity of her
nylons laddered
from climbing trees in high heels



the rescued cat now
safely asleep by the fire
snoring not purring



the whiskey a jewel
in the cut-glass decanter
the glint in her eye



again the sigh
as thigh crosses thigh
she singing softly to her



self as if
she was the only one
left in existence



the clock leaving
a longer and longer
silence  between each tick



and tock



and tock



the clock now stopped



looking elegant
in a thin white vase
the yellow chrysanthemums



just stare and stared
as if they were frightened
of the silence



a shepherd carrying a lamb
in chipped china
looking out of place



without his companion piece
a ***** shepherdess
broken only last week



it was ten past 7
though the clock did not know
that




Time had abandoned
the room
outside the first snowflake falling
***


Do not attempt this at home children and always remove high heels if you should do so. Make sure you have a responsible child supervising you.

Martha suffered a snapped heel and torn tights due to her hasty action in saving her cat who came down when she came up( thus rescuing itself in reality)and had to be rescued by burly laughing firemen.
Dec 2020 · 39
LOST ANGEL
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
LOST ANGEL

The universe
waited outside herself

like an impatient taxi
already thinking of the next fare

after her
"Let it wait!" she thought to herself.

In exactly 5
and 25 minutes

Christmas would arrive
in all its cutomary vulgarity.

It now an Xmas
rather than a Christmas.

She on the other hand
walked through her memories

adrift  in an attic
looking for a lost angel.

Her childhood packed away
in boxes broken open

under the constraints
of time and age.

Days wrapped
in cobwebs.

The angel nowwhere
to be seen.

Here her headless horse
of the rocking variety.

Somehow getting by
on only three legs.

Time hadn't been kind
to it and her

being such
a boisterous child.

And here at last
the angel that had

set her on this journey
of discovery

finding this
lost self.

An angel absconding
from its duties topping the tree.

Crushed.
And glitterless.

Minus
a wing.

Her first doll still
gazing lovingly at her

through its one good
button eye hanging on by

a  blue coloured
thread.

Outside Christmas came
without her

even knowing it was
Christmas.

Mist hid everything
instead of snow.

Erasing reality
as it was

when she was

the little girl
of before.

The time being
always a Christmas Eve

that excited hush
of expectancy

rather than
the day itself.

The doll remembering her
as she was

when she kissed her
and cried all  over her.

"Oh oh...she's
beautiful!"

Hugging her once again
to her chest.

The bells mounting the sky
announcing her joy.
Dec 2020 · 42
MURDER OF CROWS
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
****** OF CROWS


Scarecrow stood
perfectly still.

His face hidden
under a battered hat.

Hard to tell
what he was

looking at
hope it was

not
me.

He a black crucifix
as the day died.

Three crows hanging
upside down

from a thin right arm
from a thin left arm

three crows hanging
upside down.

Life had left them
to rot.

Present only by
a terrible absence.

A series of crows
nailed to a barn door.

The wood weathered beyond age.
Paint peeling off like skin.

Wings outstretched
like a deadly blessing.

Like heraldic emblems
on Medieval  shields.

Was as if one had
stepped into

an Andrew Wyeth
painting

and the painting
had refused to let you go.

As if scarecrow
had gotten a shot gun.

Shot them down.
One by one by one by one.

The bark of the gun proclaiming
"My name is Death!"

Or that scarecrow
had pulled them from the sky

with his bare hands
tore out their eyes.

Carcasses.
A maggot's feast.

Crows fleeing beyond
a far horizon.

The light darkening.
Scarecrow raising his head.

Old turnip skull.
Dead and not dead.

His straw hair
ruffled by the wind.

He grins.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
******* THIS CZECH SHAPESHIFTING




lost in Praha
lost in Kafka
losing myself


careful making deals
with old Nick
I said 'Beatle' not 'beetle'


*


WHEN FRANZ MET DÓNALL


'When Dónall Dempsey woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous version of a certain F. Kafka.

Someone must have been telling lies about Dónall Dempsey, he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested to find out he had been turned into this F. Kafka.

Where had his Dónall Dempsey-ness gone and why -  Kafka? He knew of but had never actually read any - Kafka He had knowledge of the tropes...what Kafka could be reduced to in terms of general knowledge that could possibly clinch a pub quiz victory so that people would nod sagely and say "I knew...you being a poet and all...that you would know the answer to that."

I found that what had happened to me...whatever had happened to me...was more extensive that I had thought so that even my initial "D" become the 11th letter of the alphabet instead of the usual fourth. I was now merely a  "K."

I realised I would have to go to Prague to bring some semblance of sense to this transformation. And when I did so...hiding myself among the many tourists...I discovered that Kafka had become me and that we had somehow traded places.

So that now there was a Dónall Dempsey cafe and postcards bearing my features and other such touristy attractions that would be sure to be a sure fire attraction to the traveller with a literary bent of mind.

I visited the grave...his grave...and sure enough...it was my name that was chiseled into the stone.
Meanwhile Kafka was enjoying my life and strolling around Guildford as if it was his own. He appeared to be enjoying being Dónall Dempsey.

"Ha ha..!" I thought. "Give it time...give it time!" And Franz would surely find that being Dónall Dempsey wasn't such a good thing.
And myself being a literary tourist attraction? I ****** well hated it  I wanted to crawl away and die or be trampled to a pulp by a frightened child who had discovered a cockroach in her cornflakes.
Dec 2020 · 64
NOIR-KU! ONE AND TWO
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
NOIR-KU! ONE

ashamed of what it was
going to do
my shadow merged into the dark

the sudden light
my shadow
jumping out of my shoes

my shadow leaving
me to my fate
a traitor to the self it served

'CLICK!" said the switch
'LIGHT!" said the light
"Aghhh!!!" I said

I was surprised to be
still me
the bullet journeying through my flesh

I could hear it
thump
into the wainscot behind me

my shadow lay
unconscious on the floor
"Come 'ere!" I swore at it

"We gotta get outa 'ere!"
my shadow pulled our self
up off the floor

my shadow
dragging
my feet

it takes a bullet
passing through ya
to make ya...feel..a...live

I had never felt
more alive in all my natural
I wanted it to stay that way

so...it was
corny as it may seem
the Butler done it

"drIPdrIPdrIP!" the blood screamed
"Ahhhh...shaddup!"
I snapped at it

well well well
Jane Butler was back in town
that would explain a lot of things

"Jane Butler!"
"Jane Butler...Jane Butler!"
"Jane...******...Butler!"

"Well!"
"What..."
"...do ya know!"

a pack of shadows
feeding on
the sole surviving scrap of light
**

NOIR-KU TWO

the headlights hurry ahead
as if making up the road
for the fleeing car

the body in the back
shifted from side to side
let out a groan at each turn

"Ah come on!" she smiled
"...only a flesh wound...lost a lot of blood"
"Ughhh...agggh" said the body

"Look brother...if I wanted you
dead
I would have killed you!"

the world rushed by
everything moving
quickly into the past

"I wanted you alive
so that you could really know
I was going to ****** you!"

her voice was calm
her crimson pout
barely holding back the bitterness

"Jail was no laugh!"
she laughed
her voice like broken glass

"So, you thought you'd leave
the little lady in the lurch
...did you!"

consciousness kept
dipping in and out of my reality
she dipped her lights

the car sped on
throwing the road
over its shoulder

a cop car
approached us
disappeared into the night

somewhere her voice
was talking
her words were like ghosts

"Oh I want you babeeee
to die nice and slow
. . .& know!"

"I call it due process
I want you to see your life
slipping slowly away from you!"

trees lurched after the car
trying to grasp...gasp
I was going to die

the car screeched
to a halt
she looks in mirror...applies makeup

somehow she managed
to get me into the driver's seat
"Boy..." she laughed ". . .your a dead weight!"

"Here babeee...have a last drink!"
she poured the whole bottle
all over me

"Hey...hey..."
I stupidly thought
"That's my favourite ***!"

she let off the handbrake
the car almost tip toed
to the edge of the precipice

the car tottered a bit
unsure of whether
it should take the plunge

finally the car
made up its mind
went for it

"Enjoy your drive
...to hell!" she smirked
lighting another cigarette

"Bye bye bâtard!"
she smiled
using the French

the car tumbling like a toy
then the explosion
lightning up the horizon

she redid her lipstick
"*******!" she cursed
"I got a ladder in my new tights!"
Yeah...the ghosts of his past have come back to haunt him...one ghost is Jane Butler and she's very real and very mad and wants to make a ghost of him....who is Jane Butler and what is she to him and him to her...guess we'll never find out unless the words hijack my mind once more and hold my sleep to ransom.

Too much Matheson before bedtime.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
THE ONLY THING
(for Barbara & Ray)

Ah, little daughter
the only thing

I can tell you
was that you were made

with love
our love

and that before we
could get to know you

Death: unmade you
& you vanished from our sight.

Ah, little daughter
if only I could tell you

what you would
like to know:

'What was I like? '

And I cry: 'I don't know
...I don't know? '

The only thing
I can tell you

(little daughter...are you listening)      

the only thing I can tell you

was that you were
made

with love

our love
Dec 2020 · 213
IN THE DEEP MIDWINTER
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
IN THE DEEP MIDWINTER

the fox pauses

a paw
left in mid air

resting upon
a clump of darkness

the fox listens intently
the countryside listens to the fox's

listening

a stillness falls
upon all
a snail stops mid-wall

nothing moves
the fox's eye glistens
the world holds its breath

the fox trots
as if in a dream
across countryside that's never been

my face reflected
in the diorama
the museum closing for the night
Dec 2020 · 45
THE TREE’S GHOST
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
THE TREE’S GHOST

My uncle took an axe.

“No...no! ”
the tree said.

But he didn’t listen
turned it

into wood
silent wood

that only found
its voice

again
in fire

cursing and spitting
at the dark.

I return
to the wood

gaze into
the nothingness where

the tree used to be

It’s ghost
gazes back.
Dec 2020 · 36
TALKING WITH SPARROWS
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
TALKING WITH SPARROWS


The lost sparrow poems
remain

lost

left on an Irish bus
going God knows where.

Sparrow too
lost to us.

Can't remember when
I last saw one.

This little being
so beloved

for just being
itself.

But here in Rome
twenty sparrows to a table

picking over the remains
from touristy meals.

A glorious glut
of sparrows.

"Hey passero!" I grin
as one perches on my camera.

But just then the waiter
claps his hands and shouts.

"Vattene...passeri... spostarlo!"

They fly away to the statues
who greet them with open arms.

But when the waiter turns his back
they're back.

They the reason we are here.
The food neither here nor there.

"Vieni qui passeri ... Ciao!"
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
ME MAM’S MIND
(in memory of my mother Ita)

“If you fall
off that wall

& break both
your legs

...don’t come
running to me! ”

Could never understand
my Mam’s mind

& how it
worked.

One moment
she 'had half a mind

to come up there
&' get me off that wall.

Then she 'was in two minds
about' whether to tell me to stop.

“Go ahead...go ahead
& **** yourself

...see if I care! ”

“I’m warning you child
if you fall off that wall

& ****
yourself

I’ll personally
come up there

& **** ya myself
so I will! ”

I used to watch the words
climbing out of her mouth

& fly around the room

looking for a place to land
in my mind.

Never cared
whether she gave out.

I just loved
everything she said

the music of her
& how

she made the words
behave.

I came down
and kissed her

kissed her worry away.

'I'm sorry Mam'
I told her.

And she cried.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
"CRAWLING INTO THE SPACE BETWEEN THE NOTES"

He surfed
and suffered

all the channels
forward then backward

choice after choice of
no choice.

All channels appeared
infected with canned laughter

as if the dead
were laughing.

The TV glared at him:
"Don't you dare...turn me off!"

He dared.

Switched if off as if
he were switching himself off.

When he did so
next door...did so!

To test the coincidence
switched on again

and next door also did so
as if in synch and serendipity.

Maybe he was turning on and off
the whole hotel.

Or other people's lives
who could tell?

He, the turner-on-and-off
of worlds.

Felt as if he could
zap the rain

un-rain the rain
then let it loose again.

Or making the hooting owl
un-hoot.

He was afraid to do it once
again to see

it was so
better not to know!

Felt the remote.
Felt remote.

Silence reigned.

As if sound had been stolen
from the world and

been replaced not with silence
but with non-sound.

Even silence would have been
a sound

compared to this
non-sound.

He watched the dance
of the lazy lace curtain

as if the window were
breathing

in and out and in and
out.

Or it were
a ghost

doing a Hawaiian
hula dance

as if his entire self
had been replaced

molecule by molecule
with loneliness

nothing but loneliness
a man made entirely of

loneliness.

Only then could he begin
to cry.

Somewhere in a can
the dead were laughing.

*

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

― Maya Angelou
Dec 2020 · 42
BROKEN ABRACADABRA
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
BROKEN ABRACADABRA

My uncle shimmers
as he walks

as if the sun has got him
and shakes him

until he walks
like waves.

His gait all
heat haze.

He's a walking
reflection

as if the air
were water.

He looks like
he's a dream

made of summer

but he is the real thing
a solid Uncle Michael.

I expect his voice
to waver with the heat

but his words
stay steady

whittled out of love
like wood.

I am up a tree.

He can't see me.

The branch below me has sn-
-apped

and I am wondering like a cat
how in hell I am

going to get down.

Up here in the air
the farm is the map

of itself.

I share a branch with a bird
and a small cloud.

Uncle goes on looking for me
his voice searching the everywhere

but I am a nowhere.

His voice trying to pull me
out of thin air

like a magician would
but it's not good.

I am half sky half tree half child
...do the maths.

I feel like a white rabbit
lost inside a top hat.

He died one sunny Sunday
******* a sweet in the blue van.

I still see him
walking out of the sun

his body shivering
with the heat

as if he is a dream
calling my name

like an abracadabra.

I sit in the silence
in the middle of my sky

lost in that forever
summer

wondering how to get back
down on solid ground

calling his name
like a broken magic spell

always trying to find him
even though I can't

...find my self.

*

Pitching in with great gusto to bring in the hay I sliced through my brother Brian's earlobe with the pitchfork...I was terrified....scampered and hid up "my tree' for the rest of the day....not even Mikey was able to find me stuck up there in the sky.
Dec 2020 · 50
FASTENED TO THE AIR
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
FASTENED TO THE AIR

Here, your laughter
fastened to the air

with a little twist
of memory.

Time, spell stopped
as it were.

Your laughter
pinned to this

particular place
this

little scrap of sky
and field

that to an unobservant  eye
would mean nothing

...nothing at all.

But see, your laughter
unfurls its flag of self

snapping in the stiff wind
of what's lost is lost.

This simple second
alive for ever.

I pick it as
I would a flower

untouched by either

time or
death.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
LISTENING TO WHAT'S...NOT THERE!

I always listened to
the dud notes

the mute notes that went
doh instead of do

as the music stumbled
but recovered just in

time to be
embarrassed with

the piano going all shy
at having let out

a no noise note.

I watched fascinated
as the key was depressed

and an awkward silence
tried to catch up with

the rest of its
brother notes.

Soon they were
the only notes

I listened to
as I

strung them
together in my mind

a musical necklace
of a silence

like snow
falling

as the dark caught up
with the light

and turned it
into the night

before Christmas
Eve's

eve.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
AND I ONLY THE MOST RECENT INCARNATION

thousands of voices
flowing through my head
the ancestors are restless



I borrow their faces
use their voices
inhabit this present



let them live
through me
I a cast of many




and who
will borrow my face
many ages from now
Nov 2020 · 36
FOOTSTEPS SET IN TIME
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
FOOTSTEPS SET IN TIME

The lightness of
your footstep

as you hurried to me

caught in the slowly setting
concrete
you didn’t see

holds your fleeting love
permanently  

your footsteps
greedy for me

paying no attention
to the world whatever

only knowing that
in a few footsteps more

you would be precious
and adored for who you are

your footsteps
still exist

echoing inside my tears

as I put my next step
inside yours

and the snow fills
the other   footsteps        up.
Nov 2020 · 24
THE ME I AM
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE ME I AM

I laugh
with a dead man’s laugh

(a man I never knew)  

my grandfather’s laughter

flowering like Springtime

blossoming in my mouth

not listening to the years.

Time joins the dots.
Painting by Numbers.

I see
with my mother’s eyes

the world
stealing into my mind

become music

anything it
chooses.

Time joins the dots.
Painting by numbers.

This gesture
is my big sisters

gathering me
up into her

nearness

tenderness.

Time joins the dots.
Painting by Numbers.

My father’s love
beats in my heart

sings in everything
it touches

amuses

me to see

how I

am

all those others
as well as me.

Time joins
the dots.

Painting by Numbers.
Nov 2020 · 192
AFTER THE ROW
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
AFTER THE ROW

Built an over large snowman
on your front doorstep

&
hid behind it.

Rang your doorbell

until you were
annoyed  by it.

“Yes...yes! ”
you flung open the door

to be confronted
with a snowman

telling you
he loved you

until slowly

your heart
began

to melt.
Nov 2020 · 34
MEETING MY OWN GHOST
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
MEETING MY OWN GHOST

My Uncle's old blue van
our delighted childhood

transported from train to farm
creator of our Summer

holiday

as magical as anything
could have been

to our open
innocent minds

lies forgotten
& forgetting

behind the barn
rusting in rain

stung by sun
in summers come & gone

an orange rust
delicate as lace

chewing like cancer
into its solid blue body.

A chicken drives it now
perched upon its steering wheel

going nowhere
fast

clucking'' Get outta de way! '

Rotted rubber
still clinging to the wheels

like flesh
leaving bone

protected by gangs
of highly strung nettles

ravished by weeds
& overgrown trees

me & some newly laid eggs
jostled together in the passenger seat

a cockerel crowing
he has all the back seat

the windshield
flecked with years

of flattened flies
a multitude of squashed bugs

as we speed
into the past

meeting my own ghost
with tears in my eyes.
Nov 2020 · 81
ATARAXIA
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
ATARAXIA

Felis Catus blinks
"The Tories think
( I didn't know they could do that)


we are not sentient beings
or that we do not feel pain?
Only shows they have no brains!


'Unheimleich' as Heidegger
would have observed!"
she purrs...delicately...cleans herself.


"Your philosophy is
your  fail-osophy...
you simply think too much.


Think instead of do
and you can't do without thinking.
Poor poor you!


Be like me.
Just be.
Be.


Only when you play
with me do you
escape being human.


I am your distraction
from the prison of your self
just stop your self thinking

live in this
instant
no before or after.

Ah 'the great chain of being'
placing your self at the top
oh so smugly superior.


Our feline-osophy
would be if at all
not to have a philosophy.


As Montaigne  put it
so succinctly  you 'needed
a mind departing distraction"


to deal with your consciousness
and awareness of death.
And I my friend - am it!

Now if you can be
a good chap and feed me
that can be my fee

for talking you through
your all too human dilemmas
and you may yet achieve

(perhaps)ataraxia
but until then or when we cats
learn to peel the foil

from Kitty Kat Salmon
and so leap to the top
of the 'great chain of being."

Felis Catus
will rule
over all.


*

ATARAXIA....a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.
ATARAXIA....a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.
Nov 2020 · 31
SOOTHING THE MUSIC
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
SOOTHING THE MUSIC

the piano was angry
he tried to sooth the music
that kept biting at his fingers

each note...each note
the world fading away 'til there was only
the music alive in him

just him & the music now
sharing the same body
the music snatching at his soul

when the music left
it took time
to become human again

he sat with a cigarette
having a conversation
with the smoke

the music loved him
he tried
to love it back
Nov 2020 · 33
"MIRROR, MIRROR. . ?"
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
"MIRROR, MIRROR. . ?"

The mirror
watches him warily

mimicking his
every move

careful not to
miss the least gesture.

The mirror unhappy
it can copy

everything except
this man's mind.

Try as it might
what goes on inside his head

remains
inviolate.

The mirror drags him
into its self

drowning him in
his own reflection

keeping him forever
under glass

calmly awaiting
the next one who

stops: pauses -
checks to see if

his tie's straight
or his zip's zipped

or brush back
hair gone astray

straightening an eyebrow
into place with

a licked fingertip
a wink at his self

before the mirror
eats him.

The mirror
likes humans

likes to assimilate
them.

Only then
the mirror can

taste the tang
of thoughts

as only
humans can.

It enjoys their final fear
their silent fear

as the man
begins to realise

what is
happening to him

as slowly silently he
becomes glass.

**

As a kid I was astonished at JEAN COCTEAU's Orpheus where mirrors could be entered into and were a lane to the land of the dead...the images still zing around in my bloodstream...still astonishing me. One of my major influences in my poetry....this was a flickering poetry in motion.
Nov 2020 · 48
"...IN FORGETFUL SNOW..."
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
"...IN FORGETFUL SNOW..."

Flake by flake
Heaven falls

until its whiteness
covers all.

Angels guard
their dead.

All is quiet.
All is light.

Even marble flesh
feels the cold.

The dead have forgotten
Christmas.

A Christmas the angels
have never known.

A forgotten bicycle
half there-half not

looking like an art
installation

until it too succumbs
to the snow's will.

The silence slowly
erasing the world.

A raven perches
upon an angel's wing.

She pays it
no mind

gazing with sightless eyes
as land and sky become one.

Even the horizon is
being filled in.

The raven's
harsh voice.
Nov 2020 · 36
THE LANGUAGE OF WATER
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE LANGUAGE OF WATER

You wait by the lake
alone

except for your self
&
your reflected self

as if the landscape
dreamt you up.

Your thoughts a flock of birds
scattered across the failing light.

Clouds laugh
run along the ground
on tiny unseen feet.

Trees stand on their heads
wriggling their toes in the air

& you
become as two

both real & unreal

as if a living
dream.

You hum
Pachabel's Canon

as sun & horizon
listen.

Not bad for a human
they both agree.

It's as if
I need a key

to enter this magical
dimension

as if I have to
invent one

...a magical one.
I take a little stone

whisper to it the secrets
of flight

and teach it how to say: "Splash! "
in the language of water.

The little stone
transformed with its new knowledge

does as it is told

shatters
this mirror world

opens
the dream

and I enter
bewitched

as any fairytale
Prince

my voice
calling your sweet name

with longing

you turn
& we embrace

kiss
& look upon ourselves

as the dream
remakes itself

stitching itself
together with silence.

An old artist
(unknown to us then)

places us
the lovers

at the center
of his composition

adds this
final brushstroke

and pleased
with his efforts

folds up
his chair

packs up
his paints & easel

smiles at our
kisses

wishes
us a goodnight

and is gone
eaten by the twilight.

Our laughter
frail & fragile

lingering on the night air

playing peek-a-boo
with the moonlight.
Nov 2020 · 95
THE STRING ON THE KITE
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE STRING ON THE KITE

The wind flowed
into the room

like an immense invisible
river

pushing aside the curtains
of stone.

The world was
in flood & i

felt like a cow
stuck on a roof

my mind meandering
in a fever

me...mere human debris
caught on a bend.

I lost inside of me.

my sister's voice calling
my name as if

I were a distant planet
that had yet to be discovered

the shreds of self
clinging to the love

in her voice
the string on the kite.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
WATER'S LAUGHTER
( For Jan on her birthday )

She laughs
like water

pours herself
into my embrace

takes whatever shape
(cuddle hug Indian ******
statue Kamasutra)

within these
arms

I kiss her
with a love

that cannot
harm her

me the container
of who I am

holding her love
like water's laughter.
Nov 2020 · 162
TELLING THE BEES
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
TELLING THE BEES


"A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
   Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
   And the same brook sings of a year ago."

Telling The Bees - John Greenleaf Whittier


A cloud of bees
angry not to be told

"Why the delay...
why this day!"

I tell them I could find
no words.

Could hardly tell myself
the truth of your death.

Unable to believe
or to accept.

I couldn't speak
or rhyme.

Despite the Plath
or Greenleaf Whittier.

Grief is a voice
that cannot speak.

Death tears the tongue out
then commands me to speak.

I have only
this silence.

I come before this
court of bees.

Speak only
in silences.

I stand in the form
of a crucifix.

Accept the suffering
of your fierce stings.

Atoning for
the not telling.

The bees and I
now as one.


*

The old tradition of telling the bees when someone has gone over to the other side...usually in a little rhyme....keeping them in the know so that they know what's what and who's what now that there has been this huge shift in the world with the death of someone loved. Sometimes hives were aligned to the house in acknowledgement.
The old tradition of telling the bees when someone has gone over to the other side...usually in a little rhyme....keeping them in the know so that they know what's what and who's what now that there has been this huge shift in the world with the death of someone loved. Sometimes hives were aligned to the house in acAnd so poem begats poem...


And here be John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1858 TELLING THE BEED

Here is the place; right over the hill
Runs the path I took;
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.

There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
And the poplars tall;
And the barn’s brown length, and the cattle-yard,
And the white horns tossing above the wall.

There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
; And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, ****-o’errun,
***** and daffodil, rose and pink.

A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
And the same brook sings of a year ago.

There ’s the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.

I mind me how with a lover’s care
From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.

Since we parted, a month had passed,
To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.

I can see it all now,—the slantwise rain
Of light through the leaves,
The sundown’s blaze on her window-pane,
The bloom of her roses under the eaves.

Just the same as a month before,—
The house and the trees,
The barn’s brown gable, the vine by the door,—
Nothing changed but the hives of bees.

Before them, under the garden wall,
; Forward and back,
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.

Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;


For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go!

Then I said to myself, “My Mary weeps
For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
The fret and the pain of his age away.”

But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill,
With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
Sung to the bees stealing out and in.

And the song she was singing ever since
In my ear sounds on:—
“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone."
Nov 2020 · 60
WRITING THE SILENCE
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
WRITING THE SILENCE

scratching at the silence
the pen's nib spreads the word
the empty page now overcrowded

the clink of an inkwell
the pen drinks its fill
word chases word

the pen drunk with words
blots the page
the poet curses

now the pen stops
to think. . .
before creating the next word

the candle fearlessly
standing up to the darkness
at last the last full stop

his head
rests upon his words
the candle loses its fight

in the morning
his words line up
for his inspection

his words
once only ink
dance in his mouth

he repeats them
to the walls...the furniture
anything that will listen

his thought
once invisible even to himself
now parades across the page

outside the world is
waking up
the dawn yawns

". . .these are my beloved words
in whom I am well pleased. . ."
his face smiles back from the mirror
Nov 2020 · 18
CINDERELLA ON A SUSUKI
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
CINDERELLA ON A SUSUKI

"Blast this glass slipper!
They always crack along the sole."

curses Cinderella
in a blue streak.

"Note to self...must have words
with Fairy Godmother"

She kicks off
the offending glass.

"You just can't write this stuff
and the Prince is such a yuk!"

She takes her motorcycle key
out of her cleavage and revs away.

"Amazing how the Prince is
a first class ****** yet

his sister the Princes is such
a total wow!"

Delighted to get her digits
written on the back of her hand.

"Real life is just never..." she muses
"...like your typical fairy story."
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE HAPPIEST DRINK IN THE WORLD

"Did she remember him?"
(of course she remembered him)

He gave her her first Babycham
and twins then...

buggered off to
God knows where.

His love nothing
but a sham.

Just your ordinary
horrible man.

She so eager
to lose

her virginity
so ****** annoying to her..

Hadn't seen him
since Xmas '66.

So nervous she
spilt her Babycham

all over her Princess Line
bright blues dress

so proud that
she'd made it herself.

Now he's back in town
doin' fine

top class job
wife and kids.

Babycham..ugh now
she can't stand the stuff.
Nov 2020 · 23
KEATS RIDES A HARLEY
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
KEATS RIDES A  HARLEY

(Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?

Johnny: Whaya got? )

"Keats on a Harley..."
I begin to say.

"Oh! You think so. . ?"
she says.

"Thought he'd be more
a Ducati kind of guy."

Now her mind revs up
and she kickstarts her shtick.

"Byron would most def. be
a Kawasaki dude I betcha!"

She just runs through whatever
I was going to interject;

"And Shelly I see him
as a Suzuki rebel!"

Coleridge? Now he'd be
the Moto Guzzi type for sure!"

"Can I..." I say
trying to get a word in.

"..pull you over and get you to dismount
your Romantic poets/motorbike tangent!"

"Keats was not that Keats but
the URiNALS drummer's pet goldfish."

"Oh...!" she says "Oh!"
She was never a fan.

"Liked 'em when they became
the 100 Flowers better."

"Yeah they went from a **** take parody
of Punk to their Maoist moniker."

"Let 100 flowers bloom and.."
she knows her Mao.

Calls her cat that.
"...and a 100 schools of thought contend."

Bikes and Mao just
ain't my thing.

I was always
more a Gun Club type of guy.

Called my cat
Lucky Jim...because he wasn't.

But Keats Rides a Harley
would be a great title for a poem.
Nov 2020 · 49
"...IN FORGETFUL SNOW..."
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
"...IN FORGETFUL SNOW..."

Flake by flake
Heaven falls

until its whiteness
covers all.

Angels guard
their dead.

All is quiet.
All is light.

Even marble flesh
feels the cold.

The dead have forgotten
Christmas.

A Christmas the angels
have never known.

A forgotten bicycle
half there-half not

looking like an art
installation

until it too succumbs
to the snow's will.

The silence slowly
erasing the world.

A raven perches
upon an angel's wing.

She pays it
no mind

gazing with sightless eyes
as land and sky become one.

Even the horizon is
being filled in.

The raven's
harsh voice.
Nov 2020 · 33
BEYOND THE CLOUDS
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
BEYOND THE CLOUDS

He runs
for the sheer joy

of being
a little boy.

"Brian...Brian!"
I try to rein him in

with my voice but
he escapes even that.

"Watch out...watch out!"
I throw the words at him

"Or you'll hit
that cloud!"

Two clouds glower at him
and he stops in his tracks

suddenly uncertain if
that is possible.

And so perspective
cowers my little brother

and he runs back
holds my hand.

We tiptoe past
the threatening clouds

leaving them behind
he laughing nervously.

Now far far from that time
beyond even death

I call his name
and he runs and

takes my hand.

The clouds can only
look on.
***

It was only in death that Brian became my little brother again. He was able to make his way in the world easier than I and became the solid  dependable honest fellow he was able to deal with anything the world could throw at him so that in fact he became the "big brother." I on the other hand became a PIP( a poor Irish poet )stumbling from one thing to another trying to keep up with the world that was fast outpacing me. He was going to go for early retirement and move back home to look after our Da when he suddenly died. This planned retirement made him more open to the leisures and pleasures of poetry and he began to want to know how a poem happens and where it can come from. I told him ya know in frosty air ya can see your breath writing your words upon the air as if your soul was leaving your body and dancing with the stars upon a midnight...well it's a bit like that...an organic becoming rather than any planned thing. Like a human spiderweb spun from your self. I said do you remember running away from me when you were a little boy and I called you back by putting the idea into your head that you might hit your head on a cloud? I  recited Ivor Gurney's IF I WERE TO WALK STRAIGHT SLAP and he saw how it was so that you could grow the most ordinary little moment in a life into a bunch of words that hung together to capture in sound a time that was gone and would never come again in exactly the same way or that a poem was the best time machine a chap could have.

After a while he could recite Gurney back to me and so started to keep poems in his head like a little room he could go into and treasure a moment again.

IF I WERE TO WALK STRAIGHT SLAP

If I were to walk straight slap
Headlong down the road
Toward the two-wood gap
Should I - hit that cloud.

He also came to love Raymond Carver's LATE FRAGMENT. It always made him cry. This was the one and only thing he said he wanted. One night we waited in the dark for a fox that would invariably come to the glass door and stare if at us as if the other foxes dared him to...to see what humans do in their little boxes. And Brian asked it....

"And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth."

I wasn't to know that friend fox was a psychopomp come to carry his soul away.

Later much later he became a card carrying member of some Cloud Association! Once when he was only his tiny self he asked me if "You die will there be weather?" I didn't know how to answer him and asked "How do you mean?" "Like...will there be clouds." Knowing no better I assured him that there would be! I still know nothing and he possibly knows everything.

I only hitting my head upon the clouds...talking to the skies.

I hope my little brother knew that he was beloved on this earth.
Nov 2020 · 117
"NOW...LIVE!"
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
"NOW...LIVE!"

I place a tree...there.

I place a sky...here.

I add a bird...
I...subtract a bird.

I alter a mountain
place it to the left...to the right.

I let the little stream run.

I add a sun.
( turn it up).

I walk between
the spaces between seconds

check each moment is
- perfect.

Only then do I allow
time to

unfurl
flap in the breeze.

Then I stop it all.

I adjust a a molecule
or two.

Place you at
the centre

of the big green field
you in your dress of

bright blue.

Then I, like a long ago
Sultan

or a third-rate magician

command the memory:

"Now, live!"
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR

Auden & Isherwood
strolling in China

trying to soak up
The War

by the process of
osmosis

staining it
with words

observe
(at first what seems)  

green horses

but turns out to be
only white horses

painted green
for camouflage purposes.

That evening in Canton
also offering them

the futility of two men

trying to put a rat
into a bottle

a woman who lived
in a beehive

pouring water
into a sieve.

War knocks
over the inkwell

spills
into men’s lives

covers the white pages
of their wishes

makes the idea of Hell
...all   too   real.

The spilt ink eating
the words of men

who send letters home
and die in pain

never to return

only in others' memories
& useless dreams

marble memorials

while green horses
champ the grasses

the bridles & the bits
clanking & glinting

in the hot sun
of Now.

as this last lost evening
dies.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
BUT THAT’S...ANOTHER STORY!

Her mother died
giving birth

so from that day to
this

we considered her OURS
one of the family.

Ok, so...she was
a pig

but oh such
a pretty pig

and we kept her
in the caravan

reared her as one
of our own

almost considered her as
human.

Oh the squeals of
children &...pig.

Well, she grew & grew
until the day came for her

to be serviced.

Our maiden pig
a fine Welsh White gilt.

Now, being English
amongst the Welsh

I knew you needed
a license

to move a pig
from area to area

so, I presented my self
to our two man police force.

Well, of course
they had licenses

for the this of that
or the that of this

but alas
no license

for the moving of
a pig.

They had somehow
run out.

The licenses not the pigs.

So, they gave me
a license for a crane

& crossed out the bit
not pertaining to a pig.

I thought they might
ask me

how many wheels
on your pig or

what type of machinery
is your pig?

But when it was done
it was done

a kind of
Frankenstein form

half crane/half pig.

And I was free now
to move my pig

where so ever I wished.

And so I brought her
to the boar.

And then there was the time
there was a pig born

without an *******

( not an uncommon
occurrence they told me ).

And so I set off for the vets
on my motorcycle and sidecar

but
that’s

. . .another story.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THIS BLOSSOMING INTO BEING

the rose puts
her red armour on

goes to fight
the common enemy

time

her only weapon
an ephemeral beauty

three stars rise
above her head

this her last night
on this earth

fallen petal
by petal

was it enough
that she could say

"I am!"
***

I was thinking of my first wild rose I ever remember when I can barely remember myself of that time and not realising they had to leave us. "But why do they have to go?" I asked in "does-everything-go-voice" and my Da answered in an "Ô vraiment marâtre Nature" voice. It was the most beautiful of summers and I couldn't believe that time wasn't endless and life but a gift given to us...
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE POSSIBILITY THAT HAS BEEN
OVERLOOKED IS THE FUTURE
( for Michael Hartnett )

found
penny in a puddle
year of my birth

I pocket it
as the poet passes
cap in hand

this brilliant man
sculpted from sadness
loneliness falling like rain

he goes to greet me
knowing he knows me
but my face escapes him

I only ever meet him
when the drink has
taken him prisoner

inside his head
haiku breed
"..like maggots!" he says..."...like maggots!"

"I don't want your company
or your pity!" he snarls
"Just the price of a pint!"

I have only
the old puddle penny I've found
I give him my coat

he puts his hat on
his head
at a rakish angle

the tree flies away
the bird hangs still in the air
neon scribbles on the puddles
The title is taken from one of Michael's poems as is the idea of a tree flying away leaving the bird in mid-air! It always greatly amused me. The only other time I had gone to hear him read and he was too drunk to perform. I had to get a last bus back to the Curragh and by then I think he got around to reading. He had asked me if I wrote poetry too and when I said I do he said "Ahhh then....I pity you!"
Nov 2020 · 40
RACING INTO OUR FUTURE
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
RACING INTO OUR FUTURE

We walk backward
out of the sea

our laughter gulped
back in our mouths

our words
drifting back down the past

until they are only
the original thoughts

our clothes falling
back on our bodies

as water falls from us
un-wets us

here I
pause

then press play

the memory obeying
my mind’s command

as we happen again &
again

racing into our future

as if it has

never happened

yet.
Nov 2020 · 30
THE OLD LIVING LARK
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
THE OLD LIVING LARK

"I like being dead me!"
he says.

"Much better than that living lark!"
he says.

"What I like is the complete absence of time."
he says.

"Or the way time collapses in on itself."
he says.

"Look out the window. See..?"
he says.

"A Roman Legion being chased by a dinosaur!"
he says.

"...in a hover car!"
he says.

"Wonders will never cease!"
he says.

"And that dinosaur...can't even drive!"
he says.

"It all gets a bit Thornton Wilder-ish!"
he says.

"But I shouldn't be saying this to you!"
he says.

"Not while you're not dead yet!"
he says.

"Or says you escape by the skin of your teeth!"
he says.

"And don't die at all!"
he says.

"I'm dying..?"
I say.

"You could call it that."
he says.

"And what are you...a ghost?"
I say.

"Naw mate...didn't get my ghosting licence!"
he says.

"Failed it every time!"
he says.

"I'm here to help you cross!"
he says.

"Aww mate...don't you go and live on me!"
he says.

"I'll catch hell for this!"
he says.

"Sorry..!"
I say.

"Sorry! Sorry you says!"
he says.

And fades.

And life fades
back in again.

"Well..." I say to myself
"...it's back to the old living lark!"
Nov 2020 · 75
AND NO BIRDS SING
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
AND NO BIRDS SING

Ahhh little one
the only wrong you ever done

dying before
you were born

never to know

the blue of a sky
the whisper of a sea
the laugher of one who loves you

I tell you of these things
create a world for you in words

since it is all the world
that I can give you.

Forgive my tears
this is not the way to greet you.
Donall Dempsey Nov 2020
"...MORT SANS PLEURS..."
(Death without Tears)




"Life is the farce which everyone has to perform."
            Arthur Rimbaud - Bad Blood






Once again she
sensing her time

had come
she prepared

her last words
rehearsed her last breath

disappointed to see
a new day dawn

and Death had
stood her up.

"She has been dying now these
last 20 years!"

her long suffering husband
moans.

A fatal dose of
hypochondria.


She lives to fight yet
another.

Her mind rambling through
half remembered Rimbaud.

"Assez vu. . .
Assez eu. . .
Assez connu. . ."

(Enough seen. . .
Enough had. . .
Enough known. . .).

she intones as if she
were her own priest.

La music savante manque pas à notre désir
( Great music falls short of our desire. )

she chants as of she
were her own sacred ceremony.

Always the same snatches
from ILLUMINATIONS.

"I never read him myself
but know him off by heart

from hearing them from herself!"
sighs her little husband .

Years later she
gets it right at last.

"Il y a une horloge qui ne sonne pas!"
(There is a clock that never strikes!)

She gasps.

"Que les oiseaux et les sources sont ****!"
(How far away the birds and Spring are).
"




"Life is the farce which everyone has to perform."
            Arthur Rimbaud - Bad Blood

("la vie est la farce a mener  par tous.")

Mauvais Sang - Arthur Rimbaud
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