Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
36.0k · Nov 2018
Donall Dempsey Nov 2018

I like to say
your name

when you're
not here

turn you
into sound

conjure you out of
thin air

so that you appear
before me

dressed in sound

memory sketching in
the rest of you

as if sound
was just an outline

and love
colours you in

adding the voice last
so I can hear you say.

"Hello you..!"
and there you are

as present
as present

can be.

I like to say
your name

when you're
not there.
7.8k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

She wakes to a morning
with no reason for living

cries in the mirror
to be forgiven.

Puts on her make-up
takes off her clothes

sits there & bleeds
until she can’t feel

the blood in her veins
...runs cold.

The razorblade

The cat cries
to be fed.

The batteries in her Walkman
go dead.

The Rachmaninov stops.

A letter she will never read
drops on the Welcome mat.

A mobile rings & rings &...stops.

A member of a minor political party
looking for her vote

rings the doorbell twice
slips on the ice    &   ruins his coat.


A man laughs at another man’s joke.
It’s a big laugh...he’s a big bloke.

Laughter invades the square.

There’s a chill in the air.

A friend calls for her
(to go on a blind date)  

...she doesn’t hear.

...snow falls.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

My six year old father
stares from a photograph

splendid in  his sailor suit
standing outside time.

He will not survive

There is no photograph to show
him as a soldier.

Mother couldn't bear them.
Burned them.

She forever talking to
him in her head

loving his Devonshire

A thrush is singing from behind
enemy lines.

Spring can't understand
humans and their ways

dresses the trees
in their freshest  green.

"Jack...Jack Jack!" she cries
to the wind from the south.

A Ghaoth Aneas!
( O South Wind )

"Sin chugaibh mo phóg ar rith ins an ród
Leigim le seol gaoithe í."

( Here goes my kiss to you rushing along the road
I send it on the wings of the wind.)
South Wind was written in the 1700s by Domhnall Meir-geach Mac Con Mara( "Freckled Donal Macnamara" )in homesickness for his homeland( after he was banished for some 'misdoings' )in County Mayo. This sublime melody has a very Carolan-ish air about it...essence of my Irish childhood. I used to hum it to myself for comfort when my sister Junie was killed in a bus crash back in the world of '67.

A Ghaoth Aneas!

A Ghaoth Aneas na mbraon mbog glas
A ní gach faiche féarmhar
Bheir iasc ar eas is grian i dteas
Is líon is meas ar ghéagaibh

Más síos ar fad mar mbínn féin seal
Is mianach leat-sa séide
Cuirim Rí na bhFeart dhod chaomhaint ar neart
‘S túir don tír sin blas mo bhéil-se!

Sínim aneas ag díonamh cleas
Nach ndíonann neach san saol so
Mar íslím gaimh is scaoilim leac
Is díbrim sneachta as sléibhte

Ó taoi tú ar lear go bhfuí tú mo neart
‘S gur mian liom do leas a dhéanamh
Go bhfúigfe mé mo bheannacht ins gach aon tslí ar mhaith leat
Is choíche i gCathair Éamoinn!

A Chonnachta an tseoid, an tsuilt ‘s an spóirt
I n-imirt ‘s i n-ól an fhíona
Sin chugaibh mo phóg ar rith ins an ród
Leigim le seol gaoithe í

Tá mise beo i mboige na seod
Mar a mbrúitear gach sórt bídh dhom
Ach is mian liom fós tarraing d’bhur gcomhair
Muna gcluine mé ach ceól píopa!

O South Wind!

O South Wind with the soft clear drops
You that make every sword grassy
Bring the fish to the waterfall, give heat to the sun
And abundance of fruit to the branches

If it is far to the north where I once lived
That you are minded to blow
May the King of Power preserve your strength
And give the taste of my mouth to that country!

I blow from the south, performing feats
Which no one else on earth can do
For I lay winter low and scatter the ice
And banish the snow from the mountains

Since you are in need you shall have my strength
And I want nothing more than to help you
I shall leave my blessing in every place you choose
And always in Cathair Éamoinn!

O blissful, joyous, sporting Connacht
Home of gaming and of wine-drinking
Here goes my kiss to you rushing along the road
I send it on the wings of the wind

I am living in splendid luxury
Where every kind of food is dressed for me
But yet I am fain to draw towards you
If I should hear but the music of the pipes!
7.6k · May 2018
Donall Dempsey May 2018

**...**.  . .oh!
I don't know

if I should be
telling you this.

I was just sweet
as in 16 &

never been kissed
and my *******

hadn't yet arrived
though I prayed and prayed

to a God who did not
heed my girlish plea.

All the girls in my year
had already budded.

******* to the right of me!
Breast to the left of me!

Into the valley of despair
I rode my Raleigh

alas alas

I practiced kissing
by kissing

the you know
inside of
( the whatchamacallit? )

my elbow the
chelidon so called

by an old falling-apart
medical dictionary.

I clipped some hair
from our Yorkshire terrier

stuck it on the crick of
my right elbow

so that it became
my first moustache'd kiss.

And so, was born
my Mr. Chelidon.

Pathetic...yes...I know
but the year after

my bosoms arrived
with a suddenness

that took my breath

I breasting the waves
like a ship's figurehead

as I dived into the sea
a Venus for boys to see.

I was my *******
and my ******* were me.

Somehow I could then not
stopped being kissed.

And once kissed
grew addicted to it.

The bliss of the kiss.
I was my own drug.

I gave Mr. Chelidon
the elbow.

Discovered the joy of boys
inventing various uses

for them
as they

7.3k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

I remember drinking
pink champagne

from your pink
high heel shoes.

I remember making love
with you

wearing only
your pink high heel shoes.

I remember
how your pink high heel shoes


candle holders
(where you stashed your hash)

deadly weapons
in an...OW!...row!

& you ask me
do I remember

your pink high heel shoes?

Do I?
I do!
6.4k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

God goes
for a walk.

it is the depths of Winter
but, at a whim

he makes it

He can.

I also, as it happens
have gone for a walk

& am surprised by
the sudden change of

the weather. . ?

He is wearing a yellow
gangster style fedora.

He looks like Marlon Brando
being The Godfather.

He sports the brightest of yellow

which compliments
the purple shirt...purple trousers.

He strides along with His
Paisley patterned  Parisian walking stick

whistling the music of
The Spheres.

The World bows
before him.

He is well pleased
with Himself, un-

-til: He encounters me
coming towards him

dressed in a gangster style
yellow fedora

the brightest of yellow waistcoats
not to mention the purple shirt...purple trousers.

I, also, possess
a Paisley patterned  Parisian walking stick.

We nod politely
saying nothing but...

He is miffed at me
wearing His outfit and

I also miffed at Him
wearing mine!

We pass each other
God & creature.

And God...**** if He doesn't
make it Winter

on the very next step.

He was always
a Jealous God.

Two of my friends found themselves in that awful party situation where they turned up in the same frock and same hairstyle and same makeup. One would have thought it was done on purpose or that they had indeed been cloned. They had the good grace to laugh it off and pretended they were twins! This made me wonder what would happen if God decided to embody himself and take a walk about his world just so to see what it was like from our point of view. He choose the most outlandish style of dress( not knowing that it was exactly what I have been known to wear on many occasions )thus creating the ensuing fracas when our paths cross. Thus it is that a poem is created from the party/frock happening and an idle whim of mine as I find myself out for a perambulation. Ahhh...the mind of the walking would have thought that I would have seen a host of golden daffodils but instead into my ever walking mind came this thought. Mea Culpa!
5.9k · Aug 2017
Donall Dempsey Aug 2017

Shark's tooth
draws blood

( even though long dead )

a startled red
against the sharp whiteness

lost in a bric-a-brac
box of shells & things.

grins the dead

shark's set of

Baby shark
but a shark nonetheless.

I drip a trail
of red

across the Charity

snap up

a battered

a broken ballerina

on a jewellery box
( minus her music )

( I stop dead )

a used

badly used

without guile

my fingertip traces my initials
on its dust

without hope

immortal and unnoticed
amongst shark's teeth & shells.

I get

for a pound
a piece.

The shark's grin
for a pound again.

"What do you want
for this old thing?"

I nonchalantly

setting the soul
with great care

within the cage
of teeth

perched atop
the books.

"Being dying
to get rid

of that
for ages."

"It just sits there
staring at me!"

"Scares the life
outta me

to tell you
the truth

even though I don't know
what the hell it is!"

"Give us 42p for it
& we'll call it quits!"

I buy back
the soul

( my soul )

I had given away
with some old shirts and shoes

things I thought
I wouldn't ever be needing

. . .again.

But seeing it
discarded amongst shark's teeth & shells

I thought
twice about it.

( perhaps )

I can use

for a paperweight.

Or a doorstop.



adjec­tive: Involving great care, effort, and persistence.
From Latin se (without) + dolus (trickery, guile). Ultimately from the Indo-European root del- (to count or recount) that is also the source of tell, tale, talk, Aug 9, 2010

Poetry is the art of saying what you mean but disguising it. -Diane Wakoski, poet (b. 1937) and Dutch taal (speech, language).
"Elizabeth Bishop was sedulous, pernickety, quietly determined; she would work on poems for years."Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 20, 2008.
<strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><p>A beautiful thing is never perfect. -Egyptian proverb</p></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong>
5.7k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

The morning found
only blood & feathers.

The fox leaving
only Death

& its presence

& the gossip of the frightened chickens.

My uncle swearing
‘til the sky was blue

(early morning clouds that the sun shone through) .

An embarrassed ****
like a mad alarm clock

crying like a cartoon “****-a-doodle-do! ”

My uncle dispatching him
with a quick kick.

“Oh yeah, and where the hell were you? ”

I take in the scene of the massacre
& whisper:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a chicken! ”

*    *      *

All that next week
my uncle stalked the chicken coup
waiting for the fox

who was clever enough
not to turn up

until the eight day
driven by his hunger & his nature

she stared into my uncle’s cold metallic sight
& the evil acrid smell of a cartridge caught in flight

as both it & the fox(shot through the head)  
fell dead

at my uncle’s muddied boot.

My gentle uncle delirious with Death
the frosted air
stained with his breath.

His voice almost transformed
into an animalistic hoot:

“Hey boy, betcha didn’t know I
could shoot! ”

The good side of the fox’s face
seemed to still laugh
at the very idea of Death.

I whimpered:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a fox! ”

The countryside
brutal & Biblical


a life for a life

Yet all I could see
was Death...Death.


I knelt & whispered
a quick act of contrition
to the fox’s carcase.

My uncle probably thought
I was barmy.

That night in celebration
my uncle wrung a chicken’s neck

(the chicken’s name was Patricia)  

& I declined the clean
white breast

still haunted

by the chicken & the fox’s

Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

He was an Action Man
minus a left arm and trousers.

A dog had chewed his head
almost off.

But - he still had thought.

She was a Lego Lady,
Built of red and blue blocks.

She was forever coming apart
trying to keep body and soul together.

She had only one eye
and no mouth to speak off.

Same dog who had a passion
for the chewing of toys.

But - she still had thought.

They met one night when
thrown together in the toy box.

A giantess' voice had screamed

He loved the Lego Lady's yellow block hair.
It was like a helmet...suited her face.

And oh that one little eye
and the way it would look at you!

She saw at once that he had no genitals/
but then - neither had she.

It was a purely platonic affair.
They thought and thought at one another for hours.

They got on like a house
on fire but

one night the house
went on fire.

They held on to each other
both melting into a final embrace.

Mother always told me
"You shouldn't play with matches!"
A re-telling of Anderson's THE CONSTANT TOY SOLIDER in today's terms yoked together with a friend telling me of her early career as a child arsonist. "What was I thinking...?" she told me with tears in her eyes. "I loved that house...down to its mullions and final...but did the flames. It was something I grew out of when I hit my teens....then it was all boys...boys...boys!"
4.7k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

In the next room
a woman is crying

a moon
perches upon an hotel sign


as a new millennium

as bright as neon

the woman
still crying

her unknown

shifting silently
from one century to another

human grief

from age
to age.

A woman is crying.
4.6k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

I wandered lonely
through a crowd

lost to myself now
that I'd lost you

gathering even your footsteps
peeling your shadow from my wall

remembering that lost last kiss
did it have to end like this

"...beside the lake, beneath the trees....
...when all at once I saw a...."

host of saffroned monks
their robes " ...fluttering and dancing

in the breeze..." and behind them
bunches and bunches  of daffodils

outside a florist
chanting Hare Krishna

in all their yellow voices
delighting in their day

and for a second I
forgot my pain

dancing across a zebra crossing
with an old old woman and

a little
yapping dog.
4.5k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

She catches the London bus
in her fist.

Gnaws it...then throws it
through the window.

Lucky the window wasn't

She chews it  when

Chews its redness
- off.

She is amazed to see
the real thing for the first time.

For her
her toy has grown into a giant.

Then she discovers double-deckers.
Counts: "One double-decker bus...two double-decker buses

...24 double decker buses!"
It is unbelievably so!

Doesn't know she is counting
the same bus twice!

And now to add to her
amazement she

encounters a green bus!
Will the excitement never end.

"The bus has changed its clothes?"
she says unsure that this can be so.

But now confounded by a bus
all in white!

Even we have never seen
a bus in white.

It looks like it has taken
all its clothes off.

A **** bus!

But to her it's worse
far worse than that!

"The bus has taken
it's skin off!"

She refuses to go on
this skinless bus.

We wait for a "normal"
bus to somehow appear.

And appear it does
busy being a red bus.

The world of buses
restored to its proper order.
it was just a left over toy of a London red bus that a tourist would would fit in your fist. It was just around and when she was teething she would gnaw at became a security toy! She thought, I guess, that this was the normal size of a London bus so you can imagine her amazement when the real thing blossomed into being for the first time....the tiny toy had become a monster. She would gasp in wonder that things could be so. So just when she had got used to this then she saw a green bus for the first time and she equally couldn't believe that they could be any other colour than red! Then there was the time when the world went crazy and they're were double decker buses. She just kept coming out with the remarks and then the white bus threw everything she knew outta the window! Over 30 years later a white bus crossed my path and indeed it did look naked as a jaybird or as Tilly then put it- skinless!

I never thought of it again until now....there is no memory store I can go to in order to write a has to organically grow back into place and just the happenstance of a bus being driven to put on its paint clothes or to get dressed with logos kickstarted it all over again.

It the kind of thing a poet/father will take out of his wallet and show you an emotional picture of his daughter.
4.5k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

saw the beginning of me.

I was born
in a railway carriage

between somewhere
and somewhere else

in an Europe that
would change with the map

the lines redrawn
by War

some unpronouncable
European nowhere.

A barrel *****
was playing a tune that

would soon be forgotten
on the station platform

when Mamma and I

at our final destination
the train breathing like a dragon.

Its whistle
cutting through time.

Later I would remember
a little wooden acorn

at the end of a string on the blind
tapping against the window

as if it were admonishing
the dawn demanding

entrance to
the room when I was three and

pulling the blind up and then
pulling the blind down.

"Shadow people"
thrown against the wall

would not survive
a morning.

All night they chattered
amongst themselves

prowling the room
that was holding me.

Debating whether to
eat me now or later.

"Beings" merely made from
the edge of a wardrobe or

a chest of drawers
the brass **** at the end of

my bed where clothes
thrown over a chair

made them come alive
I believe

in them until
I was nearly seven.

Too scared to ***
in the porcelain ***

wetting the bed
to the anger of Mama.

And now 1963
will more than likely see

the end of me
as I am

and the mind
that created who I was

offers me these
fragments of insignificance

that amount
to being a life.

I laugh as Noël  
Coward warbles

in his shellac'd world
forever singing

"But I can't do anything at all
but just love you!"
I used to look after this chap who loved Coward as much as I and we would sing all the songs together as I cleaned him up or fed him. He showed me his Dad's diary and the last entry was basically I thought it deserved not to fade away so I wanted to bring him back to a life in words!

Any Little Fish – Noel Coward 1931

Any little fish can swim, any little bird can fly
Any little dog and any little cat
Can do a bit of this and just a bit of that
Any little horse can neigh, any little cow can moo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little **** can crow, any little fox can run,
Any little crab on any little shore
Can have a little dab and then a little more
Any little owl can hoot (to-whit, to-whoo)
Any little dove can coo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little bug can bite, any little bee can buzz
Any little snail on any little oak
Can feel a little frail and have a little joke
Any little frog can jump like any little kangaroo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little duck can quack, any little worm can crawl
Any little mole can frolic in the sun
And make a little hole and have a lot of fun
Any little snake can hiss, in any little local zoo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

I watch the children play
on a sunny Sunday in Rotterdam

like a stereotypical alien
studying humans.

Their cries rise and fall
like seagulls as they swing

sea-sawing or blurring into one
on a brightly coloured turnstile.

A man looking
like a badly drawn cartoon

turns the handle slowly  of
a broken down barrel *****.

A monkey in a red fez
dances on the end of a chain.

The barrel ***** spews out
everything from Abba to Franz Lehar.

The decrepit old man
and even more decrepit monkey

appear as if they have
stepped out of another century.

I am far from home.
The day is dying.

I read from my battered book
Hamsun's HUNGER.

It's lurid cover torn
half hanging on/off.

The park deserted now
as night steals its colours.

The last words of
of this the final chapter

are lost to me
swallowed by the dark.

The barrel ***** peersists
the soundtrack to some forgotten film

The monkey red fez
fallen at its feet.

The monkey blissfully

The music caught
entangled in branches and  leaves.

I watch the yellow lights
blossom one by one

a silhouette of houses
like a stage set.

Houses like cut-out silhouettes
a stage set.

The last lines revealed
under a passing  lamp

"...where the windows shone so
brightly in every home..."

I laugh at such
a coincidence.

Leave the book on the bench
for some other me

to discover
when the sun comes up.

And return
to my space ship.
4.2k · Jan 2020
Donall Dempsey Jan 2020

my little ray of sunshine
waiting on my desk
for my hand to write words

my little ray of sunshine
points to pen & paper
"Ok...ok!" I say

today no ray
my desk empty
of sunshine & words

my little ray of sunshine
playing upon my desk
searching for words

my little ray of sunshine
scolds me
my lack of words

I turn
my little ray of sunshine
into words

my little ray of sunshine
looks at itself in words
How to deal with writer's block....get a ray of sunshine on yer page tell you how to go about it...write about me...write about me it shouts.
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018
( for Brian )

"Your mum's an
ha ha ha ha alien!"

the children chant
and taunt.

I see through tears
their sneers and hated

etched upon
their features

like a mask they
could/couldn't take off.

It is like a thousand years ago
all over again.

The Age of the thing
called Trump

when humans were both
orange and stupid.

Now we have computers
built into each whorl

facts at our fingertips
with just a finger snap

we can call up what used to be
called videos

of the Trump thing
teaching humans how to hate.

I, unlike my sisters
am not green

except for
a slight greenish

hue every now
and then.

I am more the chameleon
and can blend in.

I have the necessary arms
and the obligatory number of eyes.

Only my mum and sisters
look like a lurid 1950's comic

yet earth would not be

here if aliens( us )had  not come
to save them from themselves

back when earth had entered
the Age of Dictators

as the history apps.
quaintly put it

Now is come again
the hateful hate

ma king Ame-rica
grate again

like a mind
grinding its teeth.

I'm sorry am
the English no good

and the spelling as well
we will

have to hide behind
our mind walls

that we had to build
to keep humans out.

My mother taking me
lovingly in her tentacles

stroking me and drying my eyes
and making tea

With a snap of my fingers
I bring up my favourite video

and a Kermit hologram
floats before my face

"It's not that  easy bein' green!"
and I singalong like any human being

"...when green is all there is to be."
Donall Dempsey Jan 2019
( for Driftwood )

She dances
upon her tippy toes

upon my toes
whirling 'bout the room

she my little Bollywood queen.

"Again...again....again!" she squeals
mad with childish delight.

Asha sings to us

Sunlight throws itself
at our feet.

We dance upon it.

Summer gasps
holds its breath.

There is nothing but
the music....and us!

She is all
of three

screaming: "Bollywood me...Bollywood me!"

"This...won't....get the dinner done!"
screams Mum above the fun.

The record screeches
and scratches!

I cut cucumbers
into tiny tiny pieces.

Tilly washes spinach and lettuce.

But when Mum
goes to answer the phone

it's her best chum
she will be hours

we sneak Asha
back into the kitchen.

The return of. . .

"Dum maaro dum
Mit jaaye gham
Bolo subaha shaam
Hare Krishna hare Krishna hare Krishna Hare Ram!"
Such a superb composition by RD Burman. Asha Boshle voice that perfect creature that it is and matched to Zeenat Aman. Back then we had no idea what it was about only that big father and little daughter couldn't help but compulsively dance anytime the song came was such a joy and we never tired of it.

Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Monica, Oh My Darling!) was another favourite with all that sung panting and the call of Monica, Oh my Darling! We couldn't get enough of it.
3.5k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

South of Sorrow
North North West of Pain

I search for you &...
...lose you yet again.

I calculate your absence
by the stars

& you are near
though you are far.

I wander through this Wilderness of Loss this what loving you has cost?

East of Loneliness
West of Grief

...If only for one brief...

... your voice echoes inside my head

... I see you smile & laugh

"Ya alright Bud?"
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018
( for Maureen )

She is teaching Timothy
to read

even though she
can't read herself.

Tongue firmly in cheek
she traces the words

with a tiny fingertip
that knows the story

off by heart she
could read it in the dark.

She is "pretending reading."
She has my every nuance and pause

by rote
making great efforts

to teach Timothy
the puppy

but Timothy the puppy
is more interested in

the un-thrown stick.

Timothy the puppy thinks this reading lark is
strictly for the humans.

"Once..." she begins
in a Fairy Tale-ish voice.

Timothy the puppy
barks in acknowledgement.

Timothy the Puppy's mind thinks.

"...upon a time
a long long time


Timothy the puppy looks
adoringly at his little mistress

with such an immensity of love and
licks her finger as it

travels over the words
the story's journey.

"Oh you..!" she scolds
"...are not even paying attention!"

"It's no good...I give up!"
she frowns at the unhappy creature

throwing the book away
in a prissy hissy fit.

Timothy the puppy
full of the joys of

a dog's life
( it's the only life he knows )

chases the fluttering pages
that fly like an exotic bird

brings Hans Christian Anderson back
his mouth full of words.
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018

( for Linda Rose Parkes   )

The sea stands
by my daughter's side

like a huge monster
she has tamed.

" friend?"
she pats and pets it.

Both of them smile
for the camera

as if either
could never die.

This the moment
of the photograph

that fixes them
both in place

held in a forever
of black and white.

The moment
before this moment she

had ****** her hand
into the sea's massive body

and like a surgeon or
a magician

brought forth
a shell.

To her it is
a little miracle.

She plunges her hand  in again
conjures up a bikini top.

Blue with white
polka dots.

On her next slight of hand
she creates bladderwrack

with such a casual
nonchalant magic.

"What is..?" she
enquires of me

She falls in love
with its sound.

Will "bladderwrack...bladderwrack...bladderwrack!"
all the way home.

She is my tiny God
making a universe in her own image.

The camera clicks
captures the creator in the act.

Her pet sea gazing at her imploringly
like a Kraken on a leash.

She pats it with a splash.
A wave licks her toes.

The sun shines in glorious
black and white.

Her laughter
my prayer.

Dawn and the the sparrows balancing on the very tips of bamboo had come to welcome me to a new day. It was going to be our last Jersey day so I wrote this as a thank you poem to Linda Rose for not only having us in her home but for (hopefully ) surviving us.

We had such a delightful time with Linda Rose and hubby Mike. Life was like the most glorious sax solo.

I love the way her mind plunges into her unconsciousness and plucks forth an image or a thought that will startle you into an awareness of self that encapsulates the very essence of being. She is so brave in her concepts and prepared to take risks that bring about such ideas and with such a generosity of soul.

Her writing reminded me of my little girl seeing the sea for the first time and amazed at what she could pull out of it.

She looked after us with such kindness and caring that we are still glowing with it all.

And such poetry and such audiences! Such a pleasure to be able to read and hear others read in Jersey Opera House.
3.3k · Jun 2018
Donall Dempsey Jun 2018

I wanted to be
your Superhero

but all the be best ones
were already taken.

(oh how they roll off the tongue)  

Dr. Strange or Daredevil or
Green Lantern even!

So I had to become
my own one.

Now I hear you cry
kiss-less & cuddle-less

but have no fear
for I am here

created by your own

a Superhero to suit you!

Mr. Kiss Kiss & Cuddles Man! '

'To the rescue! '

' hero! '
3.3k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

She a butterfly
in her little blue dress

chasing butterflies
blowing bubbles after them.

Butterflies and bubbles
skitter here and there.

Her "flying flowers"
as she names them.

One b one by one she
picks wildflowers.

They blossom in her fist
losing more than she collects.

I take the ribbon from her hair
tie them tightly in place.

"I have a garden
in my hand!"

She runs and runs and runs
as only a little girl can

joy and speed
fused together in her.

And when she returns
her petals have all gone.

She holds only stalks
in her hand

flowerless flowers.

"Shhhhh!" I shush her sobbing.
"Look what you have found!"

And I let perspective
take a hand/

On each stalk now
a sheep replaces petals.

The sheep unaware that they
have become surreal flowers

only existing
at a certain angle.

Who cares if they are not real.
It's the seeing that matters.

She holds a posey
of sheep.

I tell her they are
flowers made of magic.

On the far away hillside
sheep still safely graze.

And when she moves and
finds them "GONE!"

I reposition her and
there they are.

"Hold  still!" I tell her
and pick each sheep

pocket them
mind them for her.

Happy once again she
runs and runs and runs

clutching her precious stalks
in a tiny hand.

All her imaginary sheep
tucked up in her mind

possibly for ever
if not

We had made our way down to Derrible Bay on the island of Sark and I ventured briefly into the coldness that was the sea. I had left my watch on some rocks and this was returned to me by a very nice lady whose husband was swimming back and forth across the bay( I had only gone for ye gentle swim and splash-about )and when this picture of health emerged from mastering the sea he came towards us for yea he was the watch-returning lady's husband who it turned out was vastly interested in poetry and so we talked for two hours about the wonders of words. I told him the poem I had in my head to write which was as yet unwritten but now weeks later it has emerged from its underwatery world and stepped into its very own words.
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

the house floated out of the darkness
as if it had been flying about in the fog
before perching on the mountain's side

the house was embarrassed
to be seen
in its ruin

this was the somewhere
she had come from
it now no longer existed

she felt that she too
no longer existed
an equation erased on a blackboard

she became naked
wearing only the lake
and moonlight

water flowed over her
like a silken garment
she the empress of this nowhere

only when she stood dripping
on the edge of this nothingness
did she feel the cold and shiver

the stars were like an atlas
of themselves...the Milky Way
reaching over a hedge...lapping the lake

time fell all about her
like a sudden rain
the seen and un-seen together

she drove her Ferrari into the future
leaving behind forever
the girl she once had been
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

"Hello!" said the crow.
"Hello?" I answered

thinking: ("Talking to crows
is a bit of a no-no?")

"Do I know you?"
I asked politely.

"I'm Ted Hughes' CROW know!"

"I didn't know that!
I admitted.

"You look like every other crow there is to know."
I impolitely pointed out.

"Every crow is CROW!"
it pointedly pointed out.

"Say...something Ted Hughes-ish then!"
I challenged it.

"In the beginning was..."
"...scream!" crow screamed

and then a load of begatting
to give the Bible a run for its money.

Nothing and Never both begatted
to make crow.

It made me remember the only time
I had been in Mr. Hughes' presence.

One shift leading into another shift and yet another shift so that
it was falling with tiredness I was.

Was it on Thursday I was
to meet the girlfriend

on Friday Street or
Friday I...just didn't know no more.

Ted grasped the podium
with crooked  hands

as if he were Tennyson's EAGLE
or a Heathcliff grown old.

He glared down on me.
I trying not to fall asleep.

He like a cliff come alive
as if rocks could talk.

His words....CROW'S words.

Ted now
merging into the crow

gazing upon me as if
I were carrion.

Crow now losing his human voice.

His raucous caw
echoing inside my head

as he takes to the skies.

I should have listened to
what my mum said.

"Don't talk to strange corvids!"
3.1k · Feb 2016
Donall Dempsey Feb 2016

She says she can smell yellow.

She says she can smell blue.

despite, not being able to
spell either colour.

“Yellow smells the same -  as blue. a wet kitty drying by the fire.

Red smells like
Mummy when she kisses.

Her kisses smell different
when she kisses you...

...then she smells like flames
with little orange tips!

Purple is my favourite smell... smells just like a magic spell!”

I kiss her goodnight
like lilac (only lighter)

with little flecks of purple
scattered here & there.
3.1k · Jun 2015
Donall Dempsey Jun 2015
It goes( as it
always goes, to )

A chorus of "Oh Noooos'!"
rises from the fans like
winter breath from cattle

Hamlet, places it:
...steps back to take it
&. . .

"Do it England!"
the fanatic fans chant

Hamlet thinks
( No...nOOOO Hamlet don't
.     .     .think! )

But it is alas -too late
he has
already thunked!

"If it be now, 'tis not
to come; if it be not to come
it will be now!"

"Duh!" the fans think
do it!"

The thoughts sprout
from his great big noggin like
a cartoon speech bubble.

"...if it be now now
it will come!"

"The readiness is all!"
Hamlet runs up to
the waiting ball.

Hamlet hushes his
thought process
strikes the ball with his right foot &.     .     .

"To be or, aggggghhhh noooooo!"
After that comma  that
negative sentence.

jeer the rival fans
'*** THEEEE...TOA...NONE...ER...EEE!"

Hamlet ends it all
with a bare bodkin.
"O, O, O, O." Dies

"Football is not...."
as Shankly so succinctly
put it

"...a matter of life and death.
It's. . .
much much more important than that!"

The rest.


'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'

'If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.'

'Sickness would not have kept me away from this one. If I'd been dead, I would have had them bring the casket to the ground, prop it up in the stands, and cut a hole in the lid.' -

'It's great grass at Anfield, professional grass!'
'It's a 90 minute game for sure. In fact I used to train for a 190 minute game so that when the whistle blew at the end of the match I could have played another 90 minutes.'

'You son, could start a riot in a graveyard.'

'"If you can't make decisions in life, you're a ****** menace. You'd be better becoming an MP!'

Bill Shankly

Macbeth was the usual penalty taker but he had been sent off for slaughtering the defence...

This was for Team GB and as fictional characters they could play for whom they liked. This was the Shakespeare X! and they were playing the Joycean X!. Molly Bloom had given them an early lead and the crowd were chanting" YESSSSS...YESSSSS...OH YESSSSS!" The Shakespeares had pulled one back with a nifty little Lear lob. This penalty was to be the TO BE OR NOT TO BE and Hammy went and fluffed it.

Some people actually think that William Shankspeare was actually the manager of liverpool back in the glory days of the first Queen Bess.
Donall Dempsey May 2018

Christ! Even the Son
of God can get it wrong!

Time his Second Coming
to end up in WW1.

To us he looked like one of the 'Un!
To the 'Un he was one of us.

Both sides let him
have it.

Him who had come
to die for us

and by God
He did.

Hung on the barbed wire
for days on end

we all thinking will it
never end.

Crying for His Father
getting on our ****** nerves.

Some say they saw him
at the Somme

some say at Crucifix Corner
"...forgive them for they know not..."

it went on and on
'...what they've done."

But I had by gum!
I pitied the poor ******.

Crawled out under
****** fire.

Put my last ciggie
between his lips

made of nothing but
tea leaves....liquorice...treacle.

"Thanks mate.!" he gasped
with his last breath

turning into young Tommy
Smith at His Death.

A right good lad I knew
from Hudersfield.

Shell shocked
they said I was.

I wasn't.

All men are the Son
of God as it happens.

Even a dead 'Un is one.

The Son of God is forever
getting it wrong.

Christ! Will He ever

Timing His next Coming
to land up in WW11.

Other Wars
waiting in the wings

for Him
to come again.

Wish He would just
give up on us.

He's of no ****** use

Death is a better

Survival as I know
is Hell.
"...FRESHER FIELDS THAN FLANDERS..." is the last line of a Preface that Wilfried Owen intended for his book.

Was first going to write a sci-fi thing with the Saviour coming down at just the wrong time. But as I wrote I remembered an old man I used to look after who would tell me about his WW11 experiences and of his grand dad's tales from WW1 so that it ended up as a mixture of the real and the unreal in the surreal situation of war and all it entails.
3.0k · Jan 2016
FINGERTIP ( for Shyam )
Donall Dempsey Jan 2016
( for Shyam )

as a little child
I travelled

up & down the Ganges
its sister Yamuna..her brother Brahmaputra

their names
upon my tongue

my voice calling them
into being

awed by their sound
mantras for my mind

riding their waters
in the little ship

of a

traveling only as a child

here I am

still that child
become this man

still offering
my devotion

from the Dev Bhoomi I come

tracing Shiva's hair
from here to there

"Ganga Ma...Ganga Ma!" I cry
herding the river

from Gaumukh
watching her

spread her fan
into the Bay of Bengal and beyond

still sailing the same old
fingertip ship

a bit old and
battered now

soon I will stand
on Indian soil

call all my childhood rivers
to me

bow as they
flow into me

their names
upon my tongue

calling upon
all the Gods to come


3.0k · Jun 2018
Donall Dempsey Jun 2018

She switched off the moon.

Plucked out the stars.

A little dog barked
as her scream scrawled:

“This time life has gone...too far.”

She took an overdose of sleeping tablets
in her big bright red car.

The day withers
that was once in bloom.

Petals fall
in an empty room.

The moon wept.
The stars cried.

Life was for living... Life lied.
2.9k · Mar 2018
Donall Dempsey Mar 2018

You didn't die
you just changed shape

became invisible
to the naked eye

became this grief

it's sharpness
more real

than your presence was

before you were separate to me
entire to yourself

now you are
a part of me

you are inside my self

I call you
by your new name

'Grief...Grief! '

although I still call you
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

Out of the bonfire
a globe rolls

the earth on fire
its borders melting

continents peel away
countries are lost

an ocean tries to make a run for it but
wrinkles...blisters...into ash.

I kick the earth aside
like a God playing football

laugh to see that only Ireland( barely )

On the sidelines
a map of the universe

as it was known
is crossed by snails

taking their time
eating a constellation here and there.

So this is the way
the world ends

this is the way
the world ends

this is the way
the world ends

not with a bang but
a wife calling you into "...dinner!"
2.7k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

I lived my life as if
I had been written
into a Barbara Pym novel

so prim and proper lady I
my soul smoother'd in camphor
yet my life...wot the mot hath got

and here I be
curled upon the Persian rug
in the foetal position

being born
into my dying
as it were

me an elaborate motif
beside an exquisite phoenix
oh the warp and woof of me

so this is death
rather nice
as these things go

not too much( ouch )pain
more easeful and slow and
when ya gotta go...ya...gotta go

rather like that Manx man
was it Brown...or...something
"...if thou couldst empty..." oh what is it?

"...all thy self of self
to be a shell dishabited..."
bit like ha ha that...innit( agghh )

wonder what an anthropologist
would make of me

I'd guess I'd be
so quaintly ever so English
so cue-cumber sandwich

settling down with a Pimms and a Pym
being one of those Excellent Women
**** this dying....haven't even read the book

only got as far as mean
the great unread

the words sticking in my brain
something being "...a welcoming
sort of place...

with a bright entrance..."
as if Mr. Death were saying
"Why...that's what I am!"

"Yeah, yeah...sure sure'"
I answer all Film Noir
another of life's little pleasures

the stuffed bird
stares at me sternly
deigns to speak

"Now that you are going to be
as dead as me...may I
have a word?"

it coughs unaccustomed
as it is
to public speech

"It's not so bad
being dead
it's being stuffed that hurts!"

the cat joins in
with its customary "I'm starving...
ya couldn't open this tin?"

now the cat howls
oh to have opposable thumbs
or a can opener at least

the stuffed bird and the cat and I
singing along to Beverly Kenny
smiling from the record sleeve

"Oh this used to be
my favourite as a girl
'I Never Has Seen Snow."

"Oh the girl I used to be
she ain't me no more!"
I could always carry a tune

the stuffed bird can't
sing for nuts but
the cat's got a good tenor voice

me...I'm letting go
the world is walking out on me
the world don't want to know me no more

I've even forget
can you Adam and Eve it
how to spell... fo'c's'le

my garden looks in
the window at me
well here's a howdy do

I never was '...a lovesome thing..."
even when young
"God wot!"

hee hee hee T.E. Brown
appears to invade the mind
when one is dying

and what would that Borneo
anthropologist make of that
or my love of Jazz

grabbing the music
by the tail as it shape-shifts
improvises world upon world and beyond

oh to be dying
in a smokey jazz club
thoughts climbing a spiral staircase of smoke

"All that not!"
now I wonder where
I got ha ha that

would the man from Borneo know
that is Phil Woods on
the Quincey Jones arrangement

"Oh I love sax me!
never could say the same
for ***

well - enough of that
better get on with
my death

and what better way to go
than with Beverly singing low
always thought I looked a bit like her

she smiles that record sleeve smile
the one I tried to sculpt
upon my own features

"I saw a new horizon
and a road to take me
where I wanted to be...needed to be.... took"

"God! I'm only starving!" yowls the cat
"Ya couldn't feed me before ya
**** those...**** those cans!"

"Oh ****...oh ****!" she purrs
the record's...the record's...the record's

If thou couldst empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the Ocean shelf,
And say — "This is not dead," —
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That, when He comes, He says — "This is enow
Unto itself — 'Twere better let it be:
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."


I Never Has Seen Snow Lyrics

done lost my ugly spell
I am cheerful now
Got the warm all overs a-smoothin' my worried brow
Oh, the girl I used to be
She ain't me no more
I closed the door on the girl I was before
Feeling fine and full of bliss
What I really wants to say is this

I never has seen snow
All the same I know
Snow ain't so beautiful
Cain't be so beautiful
Like my love is
Like my love is

Nothing do compare
Nothing anywhere with my love
A hundred things I see
A twilight sky that's free
But none so beautiful
Not one so beautiful
Like my love is
Like my love is
Once you see his face
None can take the place of my love

A stone rolled off my heart
When I laid my eyes on
That near to me boy with that far away look
And right from the start
I saw a new horizon
And a road to take me where I wanted to be took
Needed to be took
And though
I never has seen snow
All the same I know
Nothing will ever be
Nothing can ever be
Beautiful as my love is
Like my love is to me

Harold Arlen/Truman Capote



A GARDEN is a lovesome thing, God wot!
Rose plot,
Fringed pool,
Ferned grot—
The veriest school
Of peace ; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not—
Not God ! in gardens ! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
‘Tis very sure God walks in mine.


She used to sing along to the Quincey Jones arrangement with Phil Wood featuring....yea he of that famous alto sax solo on Billy Joel's JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

Beverly Kenny is now more remembered for her I Hate Rock 'n' Roll but was a young  up and coming singer who died too early by her own hand.

My lady in the poem did indeed look very much like her and one was often disconcerted by a record sleeve looking back at one with my lady's young face. I never cared for her much except for her version of I Never Has Seen Snow. Curiously the Japanese to this day adore her. I was more of a Julie London man don't ya know.

The rather excellent Barbara Pym was another stand by or go to...EXCELLENT WOMEN was her second book and on p.15 there indeed occurs the line...

"A vicarage ought to be a welcoming sort of place with a bright entrance."

She was Philip Larkin's favourite novelist.

My lady was the very model of a modern curmudgeon and not everyone could stand her but I got on well with her seeing as I knew both Brown and Pym and could sing along to I NEVER HAS SEEN SNOW.

fo'c's'le was necessary to complete a crossword and she was getting very cross at not being able all of a sudden to spell it.

The forecastle (abbreviated fo'c'sle or fo'c's'le)is the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters. Related to the latter meaning is the phrase "before the mast" which denotes anything related to ordinary sailors, as opposed to a ship's officers
Donall Dempsey Jul 2015
Two fictional characters
walk into a bar

in Malta
( * Marsaxlokk - to be precise ).

" beee. . ."
stammers Hamlet.

"Oh fer Gawd's sake...two beers!"
J. Alfred Prufrock snaps.

"You really milk that
"To be or not..." thingy."
J.A.P. scolds Hamlet.

"Tsk...tsk!" Hamlet tsk tsks.
( sticking his tongue out ).

Two Cisks are plonked
down before them.

"No...I am not Prince Hamlet or
was meant to be..!"
J.A.P. quotes him self.

"Awww fer Jaysus sake...loooook
just for the fun of it...the gas of it

we swop

Hamlet interrupts Prufrock's

Prufrock ponders somewhat doubtfully.

And, so:
Hamlet the Dane

( for yea it is indeed he)

(1) to eat a peach (2) wear the bottoms of his white
flannel trousers rolled (3) parts his hair behind even

(4) dares
to aks

the overwhelming question

"( Oh, do not ask, what is it! )"

Oh & (5) gets to hear
( ** ** ** )

"...the mermaids singing...."

Prufrock "Hum...."
kills the king.

Becomes the king.


" Buzz buzz...come come..go...go!"

"It's a very
Hamlet...I know

but - what the heck!

"See..? slurps Hammy
". . . now, that wasn't so bad...was it?"

"Another Cisk?"
"Naw...I'll have a Becks!"

"Jaysus Prufrock now
...what's up?"

"Don't know..."mutters J.A.P.
wearing a frothy beer moustache.

roars the barman in Maltese.

"I can connect nothing
Prufrock almost sobs.

"Like that time
on Margate sands..."

Hamlet cuts him curtly off.

"Don't even go...there!"

"But I still get that squirmy know...feeling

we are just
fragments of

the imagination of
some *
long haired Irish poet

sunning himself by
the waters of

the shimmering waters of
a Sliema hotel pool

...up up in the clouds!

Hamlet sighs.

"Yeah, me too

Hamlet looks behind him
checking for what isn't

there. . .

"Ahhhh well, never mind eh?"

Prufrock attempts an attempt
at being cheerful.

Fails miserably.

"Let us go, then
you and I...

when the evening is spread out
against the sky..."

Like a patient etherised upon a table!
they both sing outta time and outta tune

stumbling one
into the other.

A long hair Irish poet
smiles as he watches them


"Għaġġel fil-għoli...wasal iż-żmien JEKK JOGĦĠBOK!"
the barman roars.


Pronounced MAR SA SCHLOCK. Those Maltese Xs being really SHs in disguise.

* Pronounced CHISK but the new barman is obviously new to the language and pronounces it TSK which makes him think that is what our two fictional characters are ordering.

Not to be confused with mobile texting but rather the literary texts of which both of them owe their existence.

The play bounded in a nutshell as it were.

One Donall Gearld Oliver Denis Dempsey is a good example of this sort.

* The No. 1 song all over Heaven...beating Sparks THE NO. 1 SONG ALL OVER HEAVEN  to the top spot.

** "Għaġġel fil-għoli...wasal iż-żmien JEKK JOGĦĠBOK!" Once again the new Irish barman hasn't got his tonsils around the Maltese lingo and comes out with this terrible mish mash of the typical barman's cry.
2.6k · Dec 2018
Donall Dempsey Dec 2018

I resolve
to have no
New Year's resolutions

the resolutions
I don't make
I can't break

I can...&...I will
I tell myself
my self doesn't believe a word of it

New Year's Resolutions
a piece of cake!
The cake....wins!

my resolve
before a piece of cake

unable to lose weight
let me
"Eat cake!!!"
"Be at War with Your Vices, at Peace with Your Neighbours, and Let Every New Year Find You a Better Man."

Whether this be the real Ben and nothing but the Ben is getting hard to tell but wise words all the same.  Fake quotes but good words if by Mr. Apocryphal or Mr.Anonymous?

Or more possible Bens...

""A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.

Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults."

Or translated from the Spanish?

"Have peace with all men, war with all vices, and concord with thyself. Make thy words agree with thy thoughts, thy actions with thy words, and thy desires with thy actions."

Or alleged sayings attributed to Publilius Syrus...

“Keep thy word, even to an enemy, and have only good thoughts towards him; it is better to receive an injury than to do one.”

“Forgive others often, thyself never; for one must live at peace with men, but at war with one’s own vices.”

“Let us rival each other in gentleness and goodness, for this is the noblest emulation.”

Ok ok so it gets hard to say who said what where and when or how...the important thing is to live the words and be their action in the realness of your world. it.
2.5k · Oct 2018
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018

The view
gazes at him.

The landscape gathers
itself about him

as if he were a piece of pigment
in a painting a blob or blurr

of blue or green or
something in between.

"What a wonderful little boy!"
a passing cloud, pauses...muses

and says once more in case the hill
hadn't heard.

"What a wonderful little boy indeed!"
a tree agrees...winking...its leaves.

A river runs through him
alive in his senses.

The grass runs all over
the field tickling his naked toes.

Sunlight throws
itself at his feet

bows before him in all
its glory.

A breeze throws his hat high
up in the sky and

returns it to his hand
as if by command.

The clouds grazing now
upon a hill top

fascinated by his presence
how he has come to be.

"He makes us feel
so very much alive!"

One cloud nods
to another.

"Oh, there's a poet in him
to be sure to be sure!"

the river remarks
its voice clamouring over stones.

Time that sheep dog barks
but the clouds only luahg

"See how he lends us
his voice

in order that we may think
and speak.

Look I'm talking
in human words."

the farm shouts its name.

Again and again and again
the river exclaims

sunlight dancing in its voice.

A bird stands stock still
upon the air

neither coming or going
just standing on nothing

as if it were a punctuation mark
typed upon the sky.

Time returns now
in policeman mood.

"Move along now...nothing to see here
move along now!"

And the landscape loses a voice
the sky its ability to see
the cloud has no words
the bird become a dot

only the sunset
whispers to an horizon

"What a wonderful
wonderful little boy!"
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018
( for Kyle and Laura )

we have
as Shakespeare says

"...neglected time..."
like all lovers we

lost in the kiss
eclipsed the hours

that strive to contain
us leaving Time

to sulk
tapping a toe

waiting upon us so
the world can continue

but ha - do we care
we care - not

for the ticking of the clock
and all earthly what nots

our souls
gone AWOL

our laughter
staining the air

like music we
but away "...away

the scene begins
to cloud..."

and leave these lovers
to do without much ado

what they
Donall Dempsey Oct 2019

You wear
my kisses

in your hair

to everyone

but us

they glisten
like emotional jewelry

bloom like flowers
of desire

you wear
my kisses

in your hair

smiling secretly
to your self

as to how
they got there

& to where
the other kisses

Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

She believed that
deep deep inside her

the flame of a femme fatale
burned brightly.

Could imagine herself stepping out of
some classic Film Noir.

Cultivated herself
to look like Marie Windsor

opposite the dangerously gorgeous
John Garfield.

But her life it seemed had her
stepping into an Edward Hopper.

The isolation and the paint
still wet.

The lonely lady
glimpsed in an hotel window

from a passing train
autumnal rain.

Still she acted always as if
she was in her own movie l

walking around  her tiny flat

except for red stilettos
red lipstick.

Making up her own snappy lines
to some imaginary leading man.

"Are you decent?"

"But you''re naked!"
"You only asked if I was decent!"

The mirror laughed
catching the reflection of who

she could have been
given half the chance.

She never
stood a chance.

She threw a cigarette up in the air
caught it between her lips

her one and only
party trick.

Lit or unlit.
Searching for middle C

on a battered piano
her mind off key

abandoning it
the piano's yellow smile.

She watched the sunlight
carve a block of time

out of the dividing wall.
fading the wallpaper roses.

The bed that was always
empty...always unmade.

She danced to Weill's
Youkali Tango.

Put it on again...again.
Scratching an already scratched record.

The needle gathering fluff.
The porcelain milkmaid...dust.

She disliked the way sweat
gathered under her *******.

They were always a little too large.
Hated men staring so hard.

Ahhhh the faded romance
a sunset heart attack.

Couldn't have wrote
herself a better script.

Staggering in her dance
gasping that all too unsubstantial

air as if trying to
catch time

the presentpastfuture
falling out of her hand.

The wooden acorn
of the tattered blind

tapping against
the ***** window pane.

Neon going green.
Then red.

Now blue.
And then green again.
2.4k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

She watches as
I write.

The soft wheeze of lead
leaving words in its wake

like seagulls following
the trail of a ship

clamouring after
the refuse of the mind.

Soon the page is
littered with words.

They crawl across the page
in their best 4B.

It pleases her to see
the graphite leave these

tracings of me
upon...beyond...the white.

She looks at the journey of my hand
as if writing were a magic rite.

She asks if she can

"Sure..." I say
and the words cease.

I just put the tittle
on an small i and j.

The words splashed across the page
like puddles of thought drying in the sun.

I hand her the pencil.

She shakes it and shakes it.
And shakes it.

"What's that for?"
I dare to ask.

"The pencil is too full of words.
I want a pencil full of lines."

"I see..." I say
even though I don't really.

Well, it seems  to work for
nothing comes out but line after line.

She lost in the little planet of
her intense concentration.

She throws in the odd curve
and a wonky circle every now and then.

The lines look confused
not too sure just what

they are doing
on this scrap of paper.

I ask her what
the lines mean.

"The lines are you of course.

"I see..." I say
although I don't really.

But indeed in this
drawing I am

very much
as she sees me.

The page never lies.
These are scribbles that were my eyes.

I have as it happens
eyes five

stuck on the side of
what appears to be a head.

And yes only one leg.
One leg with seven toes.

An abstract alien
bird father.

It takes pride of place
sellotaped to the fridge.

"Yep...that's me
Donall Dempsey Apr 2018

Rusted scythe
perched on a nail

high up on a wall
a sleeping pterodactyl.

I can't stop myself touching
it to see if it is - real.

Smacks its lips
laps up my blood

from my foolish fingertip
deceived by shadows.

It's grin glinting
the smile come alive.

The ghost of a horse
whinnies in the stable

that's gone long gone
the then merging into the now.

Or maybe Mr. Death
too tired to go on

hangs up the instrument of his trade
time to retire the old bones.

“No way to make a living!”

I back slowly away
blinded by the sunlight

that screams. . ."Run!"
2.4k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

The goat is in
the kitchen.

The chicken is in
the living room.

The dog is in
the bedroom.

The cat is
on the mat.

The cow is
mooing in the window.

The humans are out
visiting other humans

in the next village
if one could call it that.

The landscape is asleep
in the sun.

The animals have the house
to themselves.

First ever Greek holiday....always remember to lock the door. The goat was the ringleader who butted into our private space and of course the others followed...guess they must have read ANIMAL FARM.
2.4k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

after the funeral
your fingerprint lives on
in a jar of Pond's Cold Cream

a shopping list
dug out of a drawer
now a precious artifact

I an emotional archaeologist
unearthing a smile
buried in the past

all our I wills
become the past

the touch of your skin
still so real to me
a teardrop trickles into my ear

unreals you then
makes you more real

I call your mobile
just to hear you say
you are not there
Donall Dempsey Feb 2018
( for J.L )

"I like birds
more than books."

a young Edward
Thomas thinks

scribbling it
in bad Latin

on the fly leaf of
an algebra book.

A chaffinch chuckles.

"Vink...vink...vink!" it urges
in a regional accent.

"Fringilla Coelebs!"
Edward addresses it.

" cap!"
the bird disowns its names

content with being
itself and itself


It looks as if it has
just stepped out of the 15th century

illuminated maunuscript
The Shelbourne Missal.

"A caterpillar skeletonising a leaf
mmm...breakfast mefinks!"

The year  1895
madly in love with its own

never such sunlight

as this
the window holds the scene

as if it were
a living painting.

The bird behind the glass
poetry in just being.

The torture of
an algebra class

"Quod erat demonstrandum."
***Reading Jean Moorcroft Wilson's wonderful biography EDWARD THOMAS -FROM ADLESTROP TO ARRAS. I was struck by the tiny detail of the algebra book. A chaffinch had just landed on our bird table and had its fill of suet. So I imagined Thomas longing for escape from algebra in the glory of this common bird. The chaffinch is of course busy being a chaffinch and busy eating its favourite food...a juicy defoliating caterpillar. It has no notion of its human names and only knows the poetry of being itself.

The title comes from the Greek translation of the phrase rather than the Latin ( which yields, "what was to be demonstrated")which methinks is more apt.

To myself in the De La Salle Academy in Kildare in an equally sunny day in my own was always...Quite Easily Done! Alas Algebra and all its Mathematical kin were never kind to me and it was never easily done.

The chaffinch was once popular as a caged song bird and large numbers of wild birds were trapped and sold. At the end of the 19th century trapping even depleted the number of birds in London parks. In Britain the practice of keeping chaffinches as pets declined after the trapping of wild birds was outlawed by the Wild Birds Protection Acts of 1880 to 1896.

In 1882 the English publisher Samuel Orchart Beeton issued a guide on the care of caged birds and included the recommendation:

"To parents and guardians plagued with a morose and sulky boy, my advice is, buy him a chaffinch."

Competitions were held where bets were placed on which caged chaffinch would repeat its song the greatest number of times. The birds were sometimes blinded with a hot needle in the belief that this encouraged them to sing.

The chaffinch is still a popular pet bird in some European countries. In Belgium, for example, the traditional sport of Vinkenzetting pits male chaffinches against one another in a contest for the most bird calls in an hour.

Hardy's THE BLINDED BIRD rails against this habit of blinding in order to sing more fully.

"Who hath charity? This bird.
Who suffereth long and is kind,
Is not provoked, though blind
And alive ensepulchred?
Who hopeth, endureth all things?
Who thinketh no evil, but sings?
Who is divine? This bird."

In Irish it is Rí king or king of the wild. As well as it's blue crown it has rusty red underparts or underpants as my Uncle Michael called them which would account for the rusty or red part of its name.

For half a day there was now a world of snow, a myriad flakes falling, a myriad rising, and nothing more than the sound of rivers; and now a world of green undulating hills that smiled in the lap of the grey mountains, over which moved large clouds, sometimes tumultuous and grey,  sometimes  white and slow, but always fringed with fire. When the snow came, the mountains dissolved and were not. When the mountains were born again out of the snow, the snow seemed but to have polished the grass,  and put a sharper sweetness in the song of the thrush and the call of the curlew, and left the  thinnest of cirrus clouds upon the bare field, where it clung only to the weeds.

Edward Thomas – BEAUTIFUL WALES( 1905)

“….words of landscape…landscapes are what I seem to be  made for…nearly all  of it without humanity except what it may owe to a lanky shadow of myself – I stretch over big landscapes just as my shadow does at dawn…”

Letter to Bottomley
2.4k · Nov 2018
Donall Dempsey Nov 2018

Seated beside her
in the pew

her doll listened intently
to the Saviour who

emerges from
the old priest's mouth

an ectoplasm of words
as He manifests before her.

"Is there a doll heaven?"
she wonders.

Her little mistress however is
bored very bored indeed

much more interested  in
a sunbeam genuflecting

before the altar
extinguishing the priest's voice.

Or the ladybird
landing on a lady's foxfur

it more jewel
than the jewel worn.

Picking her nose
as the host is

held aloft

a bird perched upon
the left shoulder of

the crucifix
the Christ a mere cypher

how the artist
fancied HIm.

The crucified man smiling at her
despite how boring the sermon is.

Sunlight becoming colour
travelling through stained glass.

Her doll nods off
falling at her feet

"Shhhhhh!" father scolds
both doll and daughter.

Doll's head broken in four
nothing inside but an emptiness

all her thoughts

The smile still fixed
on her porcelain face.

Incense like death
walking upon the air.

The tiny ******
of a bell.
“Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail.”

John Donne
2.3k · Jan 2019
Donall Dempsey Jan 2019

my little ray of sunshine
waiting on my desk
for my hand to write words

my little ray of sunshine
points to pen & paper
"Ok...ok!" I say

today no ray
my desk empty
of sunshine & words

my little ray of sunshine
playing upon my desk
searching for words

my little ray of sunshine
scolds me
my lack of words

I turn
my little ray of sunshine
into words

my little ray of sunshine
looks at itself in words
2.3k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

She hugged her books
to her *******.

Her ******* hardening into
her Othello and Algebra.

She watched his mouth

alive with words
she heard nothing of

her name

...yada yada MARY!"

A bead of sweat
trickled between her *******.

She tried to catch
her breath and

what he was saying but
it only gave her hiccups.

She squirmed
under his gaze

a butterfly
held by a pin

pleasure that was

"And that was how
I met your Dad!"

She tells this story
only when she's very very

crying now

for the girl she was
- then:

the Shakespeare & Maths
pressed to her chest

the world
awaiting her.
2.3k · Mar 2019
Donall Dempsey Mar 2019

"When granda died
he turned into a clock!"

I was 7 or so, so this seemed
an acceptable fact.

"Oh we still kept him in the corner
wound him up every night."

I glanced at the nothing in the corner.
There was only a slab of sunlight dozing.

"Oh we had to pawn him
a long time ago!"

I gasped: "Noooo!"

"Oh he had to go
he had only one hand

and his pendulum
was broken."

Sam the dog barks
asks if I am coming out to play.

I of course am
coming out to play.

Auntie Nellie scolds
Uncle Michael.

"For God's sake Mikey
will ya ****** well stop!"

Mikey sticks his tongue in cheek
a characteristic tic.

"Can't ya see the poor child is
ejeet enough to believe ya!"

Whenever later I chance to meet
a clock that could be my granda

I touch its face tenderly
stroke the mottled glass

"Ahhh Granda!" I smile
giving him a great big hug.

"TickTock!" says granda
"**** ****!"
My da's da died before I was born so I never knew him...only shards of stories...fragments of who he might have been. I used to walk around the farm imagining him doing the exact same back in the day of say 1922.  When I was as small as stupid and as impressionable as hell my uncle would answer a normal question about my granda with a tall tale such as this. He'd tell me the most surreal things with a straight poker face and I love him so much I believed anything and everything he'd make up. If my father gave me his love of was Uncle Mikey who made me one with all his glorious making up! Nellie used to scold him about this but it didn't stop him as the words coming out of his mouth grew into an enchanted entangled forest. He was the treasure trove of my childhood and I was rich beyond my wildest dreams.
2.3k · Nov 2015
Donall Dempsey Nov 2015

Auden & Isherwood
strolling in China

trying to soak up
The War

by the process of

staining it
with words

(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

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 other’s 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
2.2k · May 2016
Donall Dempsey May 2016

The poet attempts
to say what

can not be

Watches Time
manifest itself

in this

tries to trap
them into words.

He sees where the sea

to be the sky
the sky become the sea.

He lets the silence
surround him.

He lets the snow
cover him.

He becomes the sky's

He becomes
Time's snowman.

Then he breaks out of
his shell of snow

into words

a moon
his anglepoise.
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you
...can’t leave it alone.

The moon is ticking backwards
the clock don’t know why

stars are just tears
that the night has to cry.

The neon dances in the puddles in the streets...
...heartbreak echoes in the empty passing feet.

You think your life’s a musical
but it’s more Film Noir.

You look at a map that says
but you don’t know where you are.

The sun came in the window -
- your love walked out the door.

I always adored Country & Western
but had never lived it before.

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you...

...leave it alone!
Next page