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Donall Dempsey May 2017

my death approached me
but: went on by without
recognising it was I...

i hid in the filthy alley
of a passing hour
Death now furiously searching for me

no...Here: here
no...There: there - either
this tiny piece of time

the once and once

but Mr. Death had missed the moment
had to return empty handed
I finding myself madly in love with

the next second. . .


Mr. Death elects to speak in Latin...thinks it gives him a certain je ne sais quoi...

It's always great to cheat Mr. Death and his henchman Mr. Heartattack. I swore to myself that I would love the next second with all my heart!
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!
Donall Dempsey Nov 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 Wilfred 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.

"...FRESHER FIELDS THAN FLANDERS..." is the last line of a Preface that Wilfred 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.
2.2k · Nov 2019
Donall Dempsey Nov 2019

the fox acknowledges
with an imperceptible  nod
the arrival of dusk

dusk and the fox
becoming one
entering the world of humans

the fox is busy
being a fox
stops: paw raised

the fox goes
in and out of

appearing now
disappearing as if
it had stepped out of the world

the dusk no longer
night falls with my footfall

as if on cue
synchronised to time
and light

the fox stares  at me
beyond me...I am
a walking shadow

the yellow street light
stains us for a moment
we vanish from each other

tomorrow sees
dusk and fox
keep the same appointment

only I
am absent
. . .
Riffing on the Hughes. THE THOUGHT FOX.... when my brother introduced me to his very own private fox who would without fail come to the window and gaze in at him. We would sit with the lights out and await his presence. When my brother died I'm sure the fox continued to come and gaze at the now silent window. Fox as psychopomp. When the fox came it would gaze at us for about five minutes and we would sit still in the darkened room and gaze back and try to commune.

My brother always loved Raymond Carver's Late Fragment...

"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."

He said this was what the fox was saying....the ultimate question you have to answer when death comes calling.
2.1k · Nov 2018
Donall Dempsey Nov 2018

her heart was a red
fire alarm

going off
with nobody

paying it
any mind

her heart was
an evening hillside

as the sun went down

the light stealing
into the ground

her heart was a favourite
pair of cufflinks

with one link

or an earring found far
too late many many

years later

her heart was a lute
that was mute

unplayed for
many many moons

her heart
was a house

burningburningburning down
razed to the ground

the sneer of her
pyromanic lover

lost in the shadows

her heart was
the junk mail

that came in one door &
out the other

instant *******

she felt as if someone
had pressed DELETE

her heart was
a crystal ball

that could foretell
nothing....nothing at all

her heart was
a knocked over cheap cocktail

that left a nasty stain
on the carpet...on the wall

her heart was
a tiny torn pink knapsack

that held all
she had known

her heart was
the forgotten iron

branding itself into
her nice new blouse

her heart was
a poppy seen

from a passing train
there&gone again

her heart
full of the perfume

of memories that refused
to ever

...go away.
Donall Dempsey May 2019

I lick her lifeline
"Oh I can see you are
going to have a wet wet life!"

she watches the tip of
my tongue crawl along her heart line
"You will have many many kisses!"

she sips her fine wine
sweet onions

all I say
comes true right away
guess I got it right

cute girl from
Walla-Walla sleeping
just up against the Pacific Ocean

"Shhhh..!" says the Pacific Ocean
as it watches over
her sleep

I place DayGlo stars
on all her extremities
she becomes her own constellation

the constellation of
the Girl From Walla-Walla
being looked after by a specific Ocean

the waves call to her
but she's lost inside a dream

"Are you really a real Walla-Wallan?"
I ask of her
"Yep!" she grins "I'm the real thing!"

"The only Walla-Wallan
I knew before I knew you
was a girl in a book!"

I turn the snow-dome
up-side d-own
watch it snow forever

I remember her
letter telling me
of a snowstorm she once knew

"I took a little of the snowstorm
put it in the fridge so
it could melt in July."

"The snow storm had never met
a July before
so this was its big chance!"

"When the left-over snowstorm
finally got to meet its July
it cried itself into oblivion!"

" . ." her letter
pauses for ever
outside snow falls now
2.1k · Aug 2015
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
Haiku Sequence
(For Mr.N. Of  O' S)

Empty field except
clouds grazing at its centre
somewhere far off...sheep.

Empty field except
for the colours & white
creating a scene.

Empty field except
for the silence being shattered
by the big dog’s bark

Empty field except
invisible voices call
“Where are you..? ”  “I’...lost! ”

Empty field except
for an oversized unseen
big green frog:  “...ribbit! ”

Empty field except
for a cow exiting now
the scene by a tail

Empty field except
for a cow now entering
the scene by a nose

Empty field except
for the well concealed couple
making out in hedge

Empty field just
waiting for us to come in
to keep it in mind

Empty field full now
with clouds, a sheep’s bleat, laughter
& two lowing cows

Empty field full  to
the brim with such memories
colouring it in.

Field empty now
because we have left...does it still we’ve gone?

Clouds migrate from field
to field occasionally
getting caught on top
of people’s heads in photos
or trapped in a mesh of trees.


Mountain   empty   of people
but somewhere...invisible voices
Buddha’s rays penetrate dense forest
greener again...illumination of lichen.


Tourist mountain  people & their litter
everywhere to be seen...obscenely obese.
Old poem in my hand penetrates my mind
its words an illumination of green lichen.

The EMPTY FIELD haiku sequence came about with my efforts to translate(rather badly I fear)**** Wei’s famous DEER PARK.

The failure of this(nothing goes to being all being grist to the mill)then provoked me to write my tanka about the grazing clouds and the invisible sheep which then propelled me into writing haiku about an empty field where nothing is apparently happening...or it would appear so.

And so by indirections I found directions out as Mr. Shakes so succinctly puts it.

LU ZHÁI  -  **** Wei(c.700-761)       Tang Dynasty

These little lines(over 1200 years old)enduring the transformation of translations through time after time until finally arriving in my mind and using my words much as a hermit crab would take up residence in an old shell or broken *** on the seabed of my mind. My words may not be a perfect home but it is enough that these lines have agreed to take up residence in my mind if even for the briefest time illuminating words of mine.



Kong shan bu jian rén
Dan wén rén yo xiang
Fan jing(ying) ru shen lín
Fu shao qing tái shang


Empty           mountain            (negative)                  to see                     people

But                to hear                  people                  words                      sound

To return      bright(ness)            to enter                 deep                       forest

To return      to shine                green                    lichen                       above
Again          to reflect               blue/black             moss                       on top


**** Wei was a fervent Buddhist and in the Mahayana texts the Western Paradise(being the domain of the Amida Buddha)      crops up every now and being the place of the setting sun where one desires to be reborn.

Hence the brightness or sunlight in the original I have translated as Buddha’s rays.

I also stand the mountain in its own magnificence and have it empty of people.

I had the most trouble with the returning/shining aspect and have taken the liberty to express it as greener again as if it were already green but made even more so by this dying light. And of course we along with the lichen are...illuminated.

I couldn't help but stick it into a future where it is nothing but a tourist trap...come and see where the Buddha gave his first sermon. Roll up!

A translation is an agreeing to live with the imperfections of your perfections or the perfections of your imperfections.
2.0k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

I follow the road
of my father’s voice

journey with him
along white roads...over green fields

to school & back

(shoes if at all...worn only to church)

picking up the cuts & scabs
stubbed toes

his going to school
would entail

in the early years of the 1920’s
only so much history to me

to him

his toes
knowing the wind
in the grass

for what it is

his toes
clasping a rock
fording a stream

Irish & poems
bubbling through his head

babbling along
the tongue

words thrown to
those lost summer skies

startling a blackbird
spouting his poetry

with poetry
of his own

(3 miles to school...3 miles back)

his mind a skimmed stone
dancing along a river

over unforgiving

thorns attacking his feet
with undisguised relish

the vehemence of glass
glinting greedily

for the next footstep

the menace
of the twisted rusty nail

& its treachery
betraying the next footfall

as he walks over
the unremitting years

into my eyes
wide with wonder

listening to him
tell of himself

as a little boy

to his little boy
the me of then

my eyes now

following the road
of my father’s voice

as it wanders
2.0k · Mar 2019
Donall Dempsey Mar 2019

Motorway sign says:

Sign coming into town says{

Reality appears to be

And there they all are
long forgotten Thursdays

that nobody wants
no more.

So many used Thursdays to
choose from.

A much used Thursday
from 1963.

A forlorn Thursday
from 1863.

Thursdays come and

No one will want a Thursday
their dog died

or the wife
left them

or the Wi-fi
went off.

Rainy Thursdays
that nobody wanted

even as they were

But there's a big rush on
the Thursday to come.

Everyone wants to have

We leave the Thursday

with the next Thursday
in the bag so to speak.

It's up to us
to make a good go of it.

It ticks away.
Time tickles.

Motorway sign says:
1.9k · Nov 2018
Donall Dempsey Nov 2018

You wait by the lake

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

You hum
Pachabel's Canon

as sun & horizon

Not bad for a human
they both agree.

It's as if
I need a key

to enter this magical

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

this mirror world

the dream

and I enter

as any fairytale

my voice
calling your sweet name

with longing

you turn
& we embrace

& 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

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.
1.9k · May 2017
Donall Dempsey May 2017


In bed
(between the sheets at last)    

I stroke your breast
with excited fingertips

ask you
“What ya reading Hon? ”

Big mistake!

“’bout Quarks! ”

“Quarks? ”

“You know subatomic particles...duh! ”

“...the irreducible building blocks of
the universe! ”

“Ahhh! ”
Your ****** comes alive
has a mind of its own.

I come
(from a generation)    

where protons, neutrons & electrons

were just
a lot of

coloured *****
hanging from a ceiling

or the stuff
of badly drawn diagrams.

Death by boredom
in a cold Science class
on a wintry morning.

“Unlike previously known particles
a Quark
(rhymes with Cork)    

has only a partial
Pos.  or   Neg.
electrical charge.

“I see! ” I say
(not seeing) .

“They are bound
in families of 3...”

She tells me.

“Really? ”

I interrupt her
but she interrupts my interruption.

“ form protons & neutrons! ”

She continues on
in a hectoring lecturing tone.

“These triplets
(are you with me?)    ”

“Yes...yes! ”
(I lie)    

“...we call hadrons.”

She absentmindedly
strokes my *******

for(I guess)    

I become positively

“The pairing of a quark
with an anti-quark
of the same colour
is known as a


I can feel my mind
freezing over.

She just skates over it
with a knife-blade intellect.  

Again I grin & feign
an interest.
“So now...”
She continues in full spate.

I drown in her drone.

“The indivisible
constituents of matter

appear to be

the six what we call flavours of

“Oh, and...six other kind of particles
known as


I prop imaginary matchsticks
under my real eyelids.

“The electron
(by this time I have lost my *******)    

the Muon
(I feel like a *****)    

& the Lau
(I can’t sink any lower)    

each with its own

My eyes glaze

“Now, according to Quantum Field Theory
all forces


are mediated
by force carrying particles


Gauge Bosons! ”

My mind
goes into meltdown.

“One of these
(the Gluon)    
is responsible
for holding Quarks

“I see...I see! ”
I consider thoughtfully

‘though I

“The physicist
who postulated

the existence of a

(******* that
Murray Gell -Mann)    

“...obviously liked a laugh
giving them the nonsense name of
Quark! ”

“And oh...on a whim
described them

as flavours & colours! ”

“Quarks...! ” I ruminate
(in an interior monologue)  
are passion killers
especially the details.

She laughs.
So I – laugh.

“Ha ha! ”
(** hum) .

Brought back to life
by the kiss of humour

I come out of
deep freeze.

Warming now
to her


she informs me

“Each flavour of

comes in
3 colours! ”

“Horray for the red green & blue! ”

I holler.

She glowers.

I smile stupidly and sheepishly.

“Each hadron
(remember ‘em?)    ”

“Yes, I remember
I had one! ”

I mumble
& mutter

but it’s lost
on her.

My *******’s had it.
It’s more an R.I.P!

She’s blinding me
with Science.

“And what... pray tell...? ”

I dare to ask
a question.

“...are the 6 flavours of Quarks? ”

“Why..! ”

She positively beams
delighted at my interest.







“Really? ”

“Really! ”

“Why...I’ll be a...why
of course I shoulda guessed! ”

I stroke the beauty
of her bottom

(for comfort
rather than any ****** interest) .

“Protons have...”

She drones on and on despite my hand’s pleading.

“2 UP Quarks &
1 DOWN.”

“Oh lucky them! ”
I think
but only in my mind.

“...whose electrical charges combine
to give them a + 1.”

(on the other hand)    
Are you listening? “

“Yes Mam...I am! ”

“...are made up of
1 UP
2 DOWN! ”

“...which accounts for
its neutral charge.! ”

“Right! ”
“Right? ”

My mind has hit
a brick wall.

I can’t go on.

“Oh, love...
Am I boring you? ”

“Not at all! No! Not at all! ”

I doth protest
too much.

I feel like
four flavours of Quarks
(you know the sort)    

STRANGE, CHARMED(I’m sure!)    

that existing for only
an infinitesimal fraction of a second can only be seen
in those self-annihilating collisions that occur when
protons and anti-protons are accelerated to speeds

approaching the speed of light
in a particle accelerator.

But in a hundredth of a billionth of a billionth of a second
I blinked

...& missed it.
**** that
Murray Gell-Mann

...she’s fallen asleep

Leaving me
with a revived *******

glowing lonely
in the dark.


I design a tee-shirt in my mind.

“Ha ha! ”

“What...! ” suddenly you

as I imagine
a Quark


“April Fool! ”
You scream.

“I learnt it all off by heart! ”

“By rote
...joke? ”

“But it’s not April Fool!
It’s the middle of February! ”

“Yes but...if I had waited
for April Fool’s Day

You would have known
I was having you on! ”

You somehow

“Oh, come
here! ” you say.

“And let me give you a hand
with that! ”

“Quark! ”
I moan.
1.9k · Jul 2018
Donall Dempsey Jul 2018

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! '

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.
1.9k · Nov 2018
Donall Dempsey Nov 2018

You run down
the stairs

quickly quickly

your floating skirt
flowing step by step

after you

as if it were
your own private river

splashing at your heels

my heart flooded
with desire.
1.9k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

The moon has fallen
asleep in a bucket

can't get back out despite
trying to slide over the rim.

It trembles as a train
thunders past midnight.

A child tries to catch it
its tiny hand plunging

through another dimension
through to its nothingness.

The moon takes its chance and
escapes to the sky with a splash.

It's all gone now
( the barn of course )

but the house...the child...that moon
are no longer to be found.

Strange to think
a house can die.

A tree enters through
the kitchen window

its head upon a table.

The bedroom
is without its roof.

A door still stands
without its walls.

It bangs in the breeze
a surreal morse code.

The living room is home
to a family of nettles.

A sofa moulders
a new line in zombie furniture.

A hare stands upon a chair
barely able to hold itself together.

One of the chair's legs
genuflects to a sunset.

The hare hops upon
the rotting table top

enters the tree's head
and leaves upon its branches.

Somehow the bucket

Still standing outside
the outhouse.

It is full of storm
right to the brim.

It holds within itself
the moon of now.

Trains no longer
thunder by.

I, that child
now - this man

let the moon
splash through my man

before throwing it
into the night's sky.

Always wanted to do that
before I kicked the bucket.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

The rose appeared
as if it had been created

that very morning
that very instant.

It's newness almost

Grass seemed to have fallen
out of a sky

like little green rain
piercing the earth

blade after blade after blade
delighting in its very greenness.

Dandelions and daises
dancing together

sharing the same lane
with the early worms.

All meeting
as equals.

Not a Garden
in Eden- but Guildford

humble in its own

This moment plucked
from many many moments

as the one to be

Time and Infinity
getting it together

eclipsing the fact
that this is

an ordinary 25th of

turning into
a forever.
1.8k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

"FIRE. . .FIRE!"

The house was busily
burning down.

"Quick. . .quick!"
Mum screeched .

"Go fetch the marshmallows!"

I dashed back
into the inferno

& emerged
long minutes later

my eyebrows ablaze
my nostril hairs slightly singed

The fire had greedily gobbled up
all the marshmallows

for itself.

"****!" said Mum.

slapping me
about the head


"I managed to save a loaf
of Mother's Pride!"
I cried.

"It will have to go!"
sighed Mum.

And so, we had
some toast
1.7k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

Walt Whitman
walks by me
somewhere in 1891

I nod to him...he nods to me
lost in himself
Clinton is being inaugurated

Brooklyn Bridge
saunters by
dressed in the summer of '67

the subway
wears its best graffiti
the music of trains and Coltrane

the Flatiron Building is jaywalking
the Empire State
chats him up

a child's hopscotch
almost washed away
a moment's masterpiece

Robert Moses
looks across Long Island
longs to build the city only he sees

he gazes into my future
I look into his past
I pass Robert Mapplethorpe

a man in a white suit
nailed to the darkness
by so many stars

an old saxophone player
busks Rogers and Hart in Central Park
"...I didn't know what time it was..."

two obese Chinese
take up most of the sidewalk
both speaking fluent - Irish

Leaves of Grass
lies scattered across the road
read now by the wind

a car caught in traffic
blares out Joel's
"New York State of Mind"

I laugh at such
a happenstance
a walk-on-part in my own movie

escaping the borders
of the body
I walk through times

I am all the times
of the world
they intersect in self

Walt and I
sitting on a park bench
waiting to go somewhere else

an 1990's rain
falls on an 1870's NY
they are beginning Brooklyn Bridge

I meet my self
coming and going
an older and a younger me

time held prisoner on the wrist
I turn and walk away
into this the newest of centuries
1.7k · May 2015
Donall Dempsey May 2015
red dragonfly
a haiku

dragonfly's shadow
hovers above
the poet's words

his pen does not
dare to breath
dragonfly reading his words

his hand now
moving fast
dragonfly's shadow caught in words

dragonfly hovers
forever held in ink
the shadow of herself
Donall Dempsey Dec 2015

( for Onelia )

The cellist's hand
waits outside time

beside his instrument

like an exotic fish

steadying itself
in the flow of the music

before dashing out
from behind a glowing coral

eagerly snapping up
the little notes that swim by

at his head
his cello bobs

like a seahorse

all that is

as he tries to enter
the same stream

(despite Heraclitus's advice)  

.. twice.

For 3 wonderful nights over Christmas in the Chiesa San Vidal in Venice we watched with delight the cello playing of Nazzareno Balduin of the Interpreti Veneziani. His body transformed itself into the music as he played with such gusto and grace.  This poem was written in praise of him in the still moment before he entered a piece...his hand floating in the air...stroking the music and taming it. Even when not playing he was playing! And doing beautifully! So...beautifully!
Donall Dempsey Jul 2016

Winter melts into Spring
the swallows ignore the War they always do
1.6k · Mar 2019
Donall Dempsey Mar 2019

he so lion-like
I feel like a nervous zebra
in my black&white stripped dress

he looks upon me
as prey...I pray
move slowly away

he stalks me across
the Serengeti living room
I spill champagne down my cleavage

I chat to
( and hide behind )
a baboon-like man

Lion licks his lips
he lets an oyster slip
down his throat in one...gulp!

he spears an olive
on a cocktail stick
I Olive can only stare

Lion sits on the arm
of my armchair
"Well...well...look who we have here?"

I startle
try to bolt away
his eyes pin me to the chair

too terrified to say
"No!" I say "YES. . !"
What am I saying!

we have ***
in the upstairs loo
outside some curses

a pool of *****
outside the loo door
I step daintily over it

his eyes track
other prey
growls "See ya around babe!"

I cry into my dry
***** running down my left leg
1.6k · Feb 2019
Donall Dempsey Feb 2019

A drop of blood.

On the Indian Ocean.

Blue turning slow
l y red

as the Indian Ocean
is engulfed by this

singular drop of

coast to coast
a crimson sea.

At first there is
no pain.

The thumb remains
unaware it has been


Paper cut.

First, the heart skips a beat
then the pain ~ rushes in.

The continent of India
invaded by my blood.

I close the school atlas
in fear teacher will see.

Scream silently
put my thumb in an inkwell.

Disaster co-

The ****** pages
stick to ****** together.

The Indian continent
ripped apart

allowing one to see
to the next sea

on the other page.

I fail
1.6k · Oct 2015
Donall Dempsey Oct 2015
She climbs
a ladder in her sleep

as if she reached
the top of the night

clutching at a star

or see she swims
in an invisible sea

grasping at a starfish
I can not see.

I stroke her...touch her hair.
Her breath warms my hand

all my life
lies here.

Love smiles
asks me

'Why the tears? '

'This child...'

She turns & smiles
still lost in dreams

star in one hand...starfish in the other.
1.6k · Sep 2018
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

the sea louder in the dark
throwing off its shackles
walking into town

mystified seagulls
flying over with a caw
a sea no longer there

a tram screeching
on its points
the sea jumps aboard

the sea sat at the bar
somehow getting its vast bulk
perched upon a high stool

the sea enjoying the karaoke
singing along to The Honeydippers
eating bag after bag of peanuts

"Have ye no beds to go home to!"
barks a barman
his belly slopping over his belt

the sea happy
to escape itself
even for the time being

drunk on being
human if only for a while
the sea staggers back to the shore
Donall Dempsey May 2016

Her shadow is

Her shadow is
taller than a tree.

She is a key
for which there is

no door

a Polaroid photograph
dying in the sun

( fading into the nothing
from which it comes ).

My mind slashes through time
grasps this memory

of her
clutches it to itself

until once again Death
orders it to

. . .let go.

It...does so.

Her shadow

Her shadow
taller than a tree.

Hiraeth, pronounced "here eyeth" is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. It is defined it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire...a homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was.

Hiraeth is best buddies with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Brazilian Portuguese banzo (more related to homesickness), Turkish gurbet, Galician morriña, Romanian dor.
1.5k · Sep 2019
Donall Dempsey Sep 2019

A Parisian orange
lay bang in the middle of the street.

I couldn't have avoided it
this orange of all oranges

lost & stranded

but still as
big & bold & bright

as a new found sun
in an unknown solar system.

It invisible to all
bicycles cars and feet.

A cat gave it
a cursory glance.

The soundtrack of Paris
happening just off stage.

Now everyone had vanished
except me & this orange.

Somehow it found
its way to my head

& unraveled itself
in a concentric spiral

a swirl of orange peel
& white pith

like a Can-Can
dancer's skirt.

I ate it.

to everything else

my first


A Parisian orange
lay bang in the middle of the street.

I couldn't have avoided it
this orange of all oranges

lost & stranded

but still as
big & bold & bright

as a new found sun
in an unknown solar system.

It invisible to all
bicycles cars and feet.

A cat gave it
a cursory glance.

The soundtrack of Paris
happening just off stage.

Now everyone had vanished
except me & this orange.

Somehow it found
its way to my head

& unraveled itself
in a concentric spiral

a swirl of orange peel
& white pith

like a Can-Can
dancer's skirt.

I ate it.

to everything else

my first

Donall Dempsey Mar 2017

Gravity had( oh hell )
gone AWOL!

Sky and earth
switched places

in an instant
his mind unable(oooOOOPS!)

to keep up with the changing

Everything had gone w h i t e
as if the world had been erased.

Then, a blackout:
as if one had one's own

private night.

He woke to find his arm
had escaped his body.

Bones( his own )
sticking out of his shirt

as if his skeleton had gone
on a day trip

to this the outside
world lord god almighty.

Then, a universe
of pain

but all he could manage
was: "Ow...that hurt!"

"Hi!" said the sky
back in its proper place.

Pain screamed
through him.

There appeared to be
an eternity of it.

"I'm off!"
he offered as a retort

slipping out the back door
of the world

leaving his body
to deal with the pain.

Adrift in a sea
of agony

he held on to
a line of poetry

"Something to love, oh, something to love!"

"Some tame gazelle or some gentle dove,
Something to love, oh, something to love."

Thomas Haynes Bayly

Bayly is best remembered for his lovely LONG LONG AGO song which at the beginning of the 40's uptempo'd and with a change of lyrics  morphed into DON'T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE WITH NOBODY ELSE BUT ME!
He is also remembered for his children's poem WHERE DO THE FAIRES GO WHEN IT SNOWS?

SOME TAME GAZELLE is of course the title of Barbara Pym's first novel, she the beloved novelist of Philip Larkin. Pym was the Jane Austen of the '50's painting with a delicate palette the mores of the English of her times. A real delight
Donall Dempsey Apr 2019

First sheep to second sheep:

which with
subtitles on

comes out as
"He just hasn't got his grandfather's legs!"

Second sheep to first sheep:

Thank God for subtitles
"No...nor the Sheedy stamina!"

And indeed I have
inherited none of these famous attributes.

I, a shortsighted
puny bookworm

not taking to
this cross-country running lark.

The famous runner doesn't run
in my side of the family.

Early morning spiderwebs
bejewel the furze bushes.

A cuckoo calls.
Sheep bleat.

I recite poetry
to the yellow furze

passing slowly by me
I madly in love with Hopkins' words.

"I caught this morning(puff pantpANT!)

"Oh jaysus...he's off on the poetry again!"
first sheep moans to second sheep.

"Poetry at his age..I just don't get it!"
Second sheep bemoans the fact.

I pay no attention to this
sheep commentary.

Hurl Hopkins
at the world.

Slog through the pain
and mud.

"Nothing is so
(gaspgASP!)beautiful as Spring -" I yell!

I become a dot in the distance
of this misty Curragh morning.

Run on into the blue
of these my teenage times.

"The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush          
With richness;"

"Bè bè" first sheep
to second sheep in Dutch.

"Meh meh!" second sheep
to first in Japanese.

So the sheep I see
are studying foreign languages.

But I don't hear them
and anyway

someone's turned
the subtitles off.
Thanks to Fr. Hopkins for allowing me to quote from his SPRING and THE WINDHOVER(TO CHRIST OUR LORD). And to the gossipy auld sheep who informed me that in Dutch, sheep say "bè bè" and in Japanese they say "meh meh!"I was running out of things to say in Sheep! So animals say their sayings differently in different languages. My favourite is that in Korean bees go "*****!"
1.5k · May 2019
Donall Dempsey May 2019

Oh my how red **** struts(thinks he's a sultan)    
striding in and out among his harem-scarum hens

talking to themselves
like some lost senile sentimental souls.

Foolish fowl!

They lay eggs for gentlemen
and kids on long hot summer holidays

they hide their eggs like broken hearts
like old love letter secrets

safe in unseen places.

But see Auntie Nellie *****-nilly as a fox
stalk the chickens and expose them

cruel as the NEWS OF THE WORLD.

See her raid the haystacks
(backseat of the old car)    
rain rusting machinery

her apron pregnant and precious with
the warm and brown gift of eggs.

Red **** crows loud against the morning marigolds
while children's voices babble sleepily into wide awakefulness

love letter secrets staining their lips
sad valentines for breakfast.
1.5k · Jun 2018
Donall Dempsey Jun 2018

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 not 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.


1.5k · Dec 2018
Donall Dempsey Dec 2018

"Nite. .love ?" Reach for the switch
"Nooooo...don't turn the dark on!"
"My dolly's scared!"

"It's no good...I got no sleeps in me!"
"I better get up 'cos
I'm fast awake!"
Donall Dempsey Dec 2015

(Being An Early Christmas Poem For Jan)

She laughs
like water

pours herself
into my embrace

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

within these

I kiss her
with a love

that cannot
harm her

me the container
of who I am

holding her love
like water's laughter.
Donall Dempsey Jan 2017
( 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 screechs
and scratches!

I cut cuecumbers
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!"
The great R.D(Rahul Dev)Burman lovingly known as Pancham. This is his  song from the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna( 1971 ) sung by his wife Asha Bhosle along with Usha Iyer and chorus. We had no idea what we were singing! We just loved the sounds and music! The hit for us was the joy and delight it brought to our little English kitchen ....making the salad exciting! Pancham and Ashe loved cooking and would have cooking competitions between them. Oh those evergreen Hindi songs!
"Piya tu ab to aa jaa, hey hey hey hey!"( wot great crazy panting and the cry of "Monica darling!") was another great favourite as was Nahin Nahin Abhi and Sun Sun Didi Didi. Then there was one in which a drummer scatted his tik takka tick to her and another with I LIKE YOU kept breaking in in English only to change to I LOVE YOU by the end! And her high pitched voice contrasted with a deep gravelly growly male voice was just so much fun! It's only with the Internet that I can see what we were singing and get translations! Oh our world was so....innocent back then as Hindi and its swirl of music hath us enthralled.

Dum maaro dum
Mit jaaye gham
Bolo subaha shaam
Hare Krishna hare Krishna hare Krishna Hare Ram
Dum maaro dum
Mit jaaye gham
Bolo subaha shaam
Hare Krishna hare Krishna hare Krishna Hare Ram

Take another hit

Take another hit*, all your worries will disappear
From morning to night sing, “Hare Krishna Hare Ram!”*

What has the world given us?
What have we taken from the world?
Why should we worry about anyone?
What has anyone done for us?

Take another hit, all your worries will disappear
From morning to night sing, “Hare Krishna Hare Ram!”

Whether we want to live or die
We won’t be afraid of anyone
The world won’t be able to stop us
For we will do what we want
1.5k · Jun 2019
Donall Dempsey Jun 2019


- not...a mathematical formula
that one can apply to supply an answer. is the sum of who you are
multiplied by who you are willing to be. Mathematics
is something I was never ever any good at

& always made me weep
with equal parts



Or, D.E.F.
for short.

For example:

If it took a man a lifetime
to dig himself into a hole

how long would it take
for half the man he used to be

to dig himself out again?

Questions – such as this
only caused me grief...

In Mathematics(like Latin)            
which I could also never know

I would cheat & repeat
words full of sound & no sense.


The cares of the hippopotamus
are equal to some of the cares
that the other two hippopotami confide. Mathematics
was all Greek to me.

I don’t know...that’s all I know.

But I do know that...
Happiness happens

every now...& then...

the only trick
is to be aware that it’s there & that...

Parallel Lines do meet... Infinity

Donall Dempsey Mar 2018

She stood
as if the world

were a mere
bit of scenery


a prop in a play
designed for the sole purpose

of making her
look good.

Gorgeous is
the word.

She a universe
unto her self.

She spoke in italic.

Her voice changing font
from word to word.

She had a strange up
and down CaPiTaL accent

that was slightly dis-

A simple "How do you do?"
metamorphosing into

hOw Do YoU dO
and without a trace

of punctuation
her voice a melody

upon the air
like music set free


She spoke excellent
French deliciously

which one
understood completely

even though one
had only schoolboy French.

jE m ApPellE mAdAmE mOrT eT
mAiNtEnAnT aLlOns y

She held out a hand
the sun itself

a mere jewel
upon her finger.

The world had run out
of itself.

I followed Madame Mort
into the nothingness

that had suddenly
opened up.

the last thing I

ever heard
my self say.
And this is the follow up poem to HOSPITAL VISIT written because many were surprised that Death like Luck was a Lady. I thought I better describe her more in detail but it was hard to capture an entity that is not seen until one HAS TO see her.

Having had a heart attack and survived I thought I could make a go at least of describing her as surviving a heart attack is like a dry run for the real thing. A practice run so to speak.
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018

The red door of No.16
North Frederick Street

slams behind him as he
enters into this newly minted

sunshine so thick

one feels like a fish
swimming through it.

Sunlight spangles
a tiny puddle

turning it into a jewel
that only the eye can cherish.

Ahhhh "...the ineluctable
modality of the visible."

He turns right into Upper
Dorset Street

pulling an "Ahhh...howya!"
out of the man who makes the false


Then turning left into
Eccles Street

giving the nod to No. 7
Bloom's house in ULYSSES.

Here in its run down state
though still shining in his fictionality.

Soon they will knock it
down and what will the tourists

do then
poor things.

Sure some bright spark
will rescue it from its rubble

and the door will live again
some streets away again.

Ahhh...." the ineluctable
modality of the visible."

I go to Quinn's gym
to get my Molly

(  Philomena her name is )

a cottage cheese with pineapple
on a Weetabix base.

It is a 16th of June
somewhere in the 80's

as I retrace my own earlier
Joycean footsteps.

Rat-a-tat-tat on Bloom's door.
"Are ya there Leopold?"

But the bold Leopold
doesn't answer.

The 16th of
forever I am

"...walking through it

The sun smirks
as such Joyceisms.

"I am, a stride of  a time.

A very short space of time
through very short times of space."

A horse and cart as if
from the past

saunters by

Ah "...the ineluctable
modality of the audible."

My Molly who is really
a Philomena

spoons the deliciousness
of the creamy dessert

into her
and yes she says


Donall Dempsey Feb 2019

Sleep lies languidly
upon the chaise longue.

I sit uncomfortably in
an old wicker chair.

We stare at each other.
Say - nothing.

Neither of us

I have counted  exactly
two thousand and 2....3. . .

They fill up the room

with a loud baaing.
There is no grass in the room.

But I am more awake
than ever.

Sleep and I
do not see eye to eye.

Sleep annoyed by now
goes to the window

where even the moon is

A  hill
long gone.

Trees snore
their breath rustling their leaves.

"Why do I always
have this trouble with you?"

Sleep snaps
without looking at me.

I try to change
the subject.

"I didn't know you
could manifest like this?"

I venture for the sake
of the argument.

"Oh you've gone
and trapped me in a poem!"

In the early hours
of the coming day

even Sleep
falls asleep.

I yawn
exaggeratedly .

Hum KLF's
"It's three am eternal!"

Each of the now 2000 and 4...5
join in

with a tuneless
1.4k · Dec 2018
Donall Dempsey Dec 2018

'Dying is fun! ' you say
'...once you get the hang of it...'

'...& as long as
the pain stays away! '

Your face says ouch
without saying 'Ouch! '

'It adds an extra spice to life
knowing how many minutes there are left! '

'I calculated it  with my solar power
pocket calculator! '

'It seems like you live it twice
as fast...twice as intense

seeing everything
so precise

seeing even
what's.. not...there! '

The pain laughs at your puny efforts
to control it.

'Doc...says a year(at the most)  
maybe a matter of months...weeks! '

'It depends on what the cancer thinks! '
you laugh.

'And to think I'm a Cancerian! '
The pain has not got your sense of humour.

Already I can see it is bored by you
tries to wipe that grin off your face.

It almost...succeeds.

'Seems like I'm nothing now
but this cancer! '

'It's all that anybody can see! '

'Like it's been rubber stamped
on my forehead or something! '

'Well, Mrs. Cancer...'
I swore I heard the doctor say.

'And, all that my friends can see death! '
'They annoy me with their crying! '

'Hello...hell.. o! I'm not dead yet! '
'This ****** cancer has taken on a life

of it's own

tells me what I can or can't do! '
'It's the boss! '

'Now...that there's a limit to it precious
can't waste a minute.. of it! '

'It feels as if the cancer
is a famous sculptor

& labours to create
the shape of my death

bit! '

'Seems like it's one of those
ugly modern abstract statues

you know

meaning nothing
with a hole in the middle! '

'And everyday the cancer
chiseling away at it

striving for perfection! '

'I tell the cancer
Oh...get on with it! '

'Get it over with! '

'See...I'm becoming quite the philosopher! '

'Now...get out of here! '

'Stop talking to a dying woman
get out in the sun don't waste
a min-
it! '

I laugh.

You're still so.. you!

You ask me for a favour
before I go.

I scratch your ***
(you can't reach it no more) .

You tell me
'That's the best scratch in all the world! '

I smile tell you
you always had the best *** in the world.

You laugh.
(It...hurts) .

I go

Close the door behind me
on your dying.

Step into brash sunlight
that feels like it's lying.

Two months later your death greets me
disguised as an airmail letter.

I missed your dying by a week seems
I'm in a different country...crying.

A weak sun
shivers in the land

of the living.

From beyond

you write me
a private letter

with handwriting
I wouldn't recognise as yours.

It just says:

'Donall Donall! '
on the envelope.

(a card)  

a wood engraving
by Eric Gill

the one with Mary Magdalene
covering a crucified Christ with her body

her hair like a river
covering them both.

The handwriting almost broken
only kept alive by your iron will.

'Guess the statue's done
Death is no Michelangelo

could have done better myself
but I wasn’t up to it! '

My tears
dissolving your words.
1.4k · Jul 2015
Donall Dempsey Jul 2015
Hamlet texts:
"2B r..."

Ophelia texts back"
"...NOT 2B babe!"

Then a text following on
her just sent text

"G'd nite sweety prince!"
she minces irony with sarcasm

"Yo, *****...get thee to a nunnery!"
Hamlet always direct and cruder.


proclaims the next day.
The News of the Screws or The Screws of the World as it was called even back in Shakey's day probably had their own Clive Good-man who probably had a terrible hack hacking...cough. Shakespeare wrote the now alas lost play KING MURDOCK or as it was subtitled ALL'S UNWELL THAT ENDS ILL.

Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, "You know, I own a paper."

"Oh, do you?" said Greenwood, "what is it?"

"It's called the News of the World—I'll send you a copy", replied Riddell, and in due course did so. Next time they met Riddell said, "Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?"

"I looked at it", replied Greenwood, "and then I put it in the waste-paper basket. And then I thought, 'If I leave it there the cook may read it'—so I burned it!"

The last edition was published on the 10 of July back in 2011..I am celebrating it's GONE-NESS!
Donall Dempsey Sep 2018
( for Jazzman John Clarke )

It was as I

there was these
angel chicks

playing on harps
on Cloud 9

other angel dudes
playing trumpets and horns

but man
there was the Big Guy himself

playing a mean baritone

like he was Gerry Mulligan
or something

the lyrics were
you know

hard to catch
" are the music while the music lasts..."

or something
Eliotish like that

I strode up
to the Big Guy

checking his *******
with a grin

"Man, that's real
solid gone!"

"I shall be made
thy music..."

The Big Guy

one long long
final note.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

" this...'place'?"
I hear myself ask.

"It is Death."
I hear my self answer.

Myself and my self
have become separate entities.

Death is a 'place.'
I've got to stop thinking of it as that.

Sans space...sans time.

The day fades
as night sets fire to the sky.

This sunset( so to speak )
is sent to offer me comfort.

It does not exist.
It is a scrap of memory

that has somehow

I watch its 'world' like a film
with the sound turned down.

I watch my atoms

to give me some semblance
of who I am.

Or rather - who I was.

So. There is no God.
That is good to know.

Nor no - Heaven either.
Only this 'Hell' of not knowing

who or where
the hell I am.

Death, it seems is only
a beginning.

I re-sculpt my face
at this molecular level

in order to hang on to
who I used to be but

it is like living in 2-D
a me that's not-me.

Forgetting who I was
I must accept who

I am now
and only then

it dawns that "Yes,
yes...Death is. . ."
It was the trope of Heaven as was expected...White bearded Big Guy etc., that didn't materialise. He survived his dying so to speak and this was his experience.

My own experience was one of the pain that passeth all understanding and at the instant where no more pain could fit into my tiny mind...the pain transformed into absolute bliss...the world simply fell away into nothingness.

But many there stood still
To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge,
Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.
Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled
By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge,
For though the summer oozed into their veins
Like the injected drug for their bones’ pains,
Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass,
Fearfully flashed the sky’s mysterious glass.

Spring Offensive

Donall Dempsey Oct 2018
( for Mary Frances )

We hang from
(albeit upside down)

now interlaced between
now balanced upon

the five-bar-gate
the river beyond calling our names.

This is the threshold
between lane and field.

We live only
in the moment

and so

Your dress falling
over your face

stifling giggles
gales of laughter

shaking us from our perch
like windfall apples.

An "Ouch!" and an "Ow!" later
and we are back upon

where we had
fallen from.

A Constable I could imagine
would have painted us

in passing.

Our five-bar-gate
as much a part of us.

Even in this
over-grown now

I still smart
from the sting of its nettles

still taste the tang
of its baby strawberries

at its gnarled
wooden feet.

The gate open
into a world that is


Captured in my imagination
by a Constable blur of paint

showing two blurs
that could be considered

children at play.

It hangs in my mind
in the gallery of memory.

The light slowly dying
only the laughter remains.

The thrush's song
threaded through the morning.
1.3k · Apr 2016
Donall Dempsey Apr 2016

Darling daughter
refusing to eat

so, I: sea
shanty her.

"Oh what do ya think we'll have for supper?"

"Eat Tilly eat!"

"Oh maybe we'll have alligator!"

"Eat my Tilly!"

"Oh but I couldn't eat a whole alligator!"

"Eat Tilly eat!"

" only half and keep half for later!"

"Eat my Tilly!"

"Eat alligator before he eats you!"

My little sailor suited girl
opens her mouth to laugh

and in pops
Mr. Spoon.

Hmmmmmm.....yum yum.

Soon alligator becomes
her word

for any eatables
whether it be ice cream or scone.

Now she sings
heartily to self

my three year old salty sea dog

Tilly's stammer vanished when she sang so I sang to her and got her to sing back to me...the call and response of the sea shanty was an excellent device to utilise. So I would sing to her: "PASS THE BUTTER TILLY...DON'T PET THE BUTTER SILLY!"

The stammer would also be no more if she mimicked voices so we often stepped into the borrowing of W.C. Fields' voice. She would also "N" words so that "porridge! would become "Norrige!"  She would also leave the first letter of the word off so that "dog" would become an "OG!" However she would also make up her own words like a little Adam so that a 'cat" was always an. . .  
"ANA BOOBOO!"  She would also slur a sentence into its component sounds and tones and inflections ending in one clear word at the end as in "Wouldyoulikeanicecupof...TEA!"  Such are the learning curves when one engages with the delights of the language.

Sung to the tune of BLOW BOYS BLOW!

"O Congo she's a mighty river,
( blow boys blow )
Where fever makes the white man shiver.
Blow my bully boys blow!"
1.3k · Apr 2015
Donall Dempsey Apr 2015
"Have you a working pulse?"
he asks of his petunias.

"...he went away cold as a snowball!"
he tells his gladioli.

They positively beamed at him.

"Oh yes...oh yes. . ."
he pontificates

"Flowers like Shakespeare

"...especially PERICLES
& other minor plays

rather than the great Dane
or say OTHELLO!"

"The herbs prefer
Gilbert & Sullivan!"

"But, spoken:
not sung!"

"...poor wandering one..."

"Or sometimes a little
dash of Noël Coward!"

"...what compulsion compels them and
who the hell tells them..!"

What could I say?

His voice produced
such a fecundity

such a fertility

that his word
could not be doubted.

"Oh yes...oh yes
plants like to be

spoken to, but:
prefer a little culture.
Donall Dempsey Feb 2018

Here in Cookham
Stanley has become sunlight

his voice
become as leaves

that walk amongst
the breeze.

Here my hand
on his battered pram

pushing it along
stepping into the photograph

of him
that the camera catches.

His paintings chat with me
gossip about all they've seen

the comings and goings
in heaven.

I tell them about times
that have come

they talk about  
time gone.

His resurrected voice
speaks to me in rain:

"Painting is
my way of saying '

Ta!' to God,"
Always fascinated with Stanley Spencer so I was enthralled to find myself in his village of Cookham...see his encrusted pallette...the dried up paint waiting patiently to be made into paintings...the old battered pram he pushed his paints and canvases along. Here was Stanley everywhere and the wind and the rain...the sudden sunshine.

"When I see a man putting up a bivouac beautifully...I want to do it ;myself. When I read of Christ raising the dead...I want to raise the dead myself. What a glorious thing to be an perform miracles...I am on the side of the angels and dirt”
1.3k · Aug 2018
Donall Dempsey Aug 2018

"Time is what
we are given

in order to search
for happiness."

The window contained
the world

that was coming apart
as we spoke.

It held the storm
in place

as if we looked in on
another dimension.

Heaven glowered and
even the sky cowered.

Lightning tore the day apart
as if it were mere paper.

"The cancer has advised me
to pack up what time's left

collect whatever memories
I want to take with me."

The world in the window
was going over the top

pulling out all the stops
with cheap theatrical effects.

Enough to make one laugh
at the unreality of Reality.

The laughter made her

She withdrew
inside herself

to where I could
neither know or follow her.

I put on the record
and she escapes into the music.
1.3k · Nov 2017
Donall Dempsey Nov 2017

the fox acknowledges
with an imperceptible  nod
the arrival of dusk

dusk and the fox
becoming one
entering the world of humans

the fox is busy
being a fox
stops: paw raised

the fox goes
in and out of

appearing now
disappearing as if
it had stepped out of the world

the dusk no longer
night falls with my footfall

as if on cue
synchronised to time
and light

the fox stares  at me
beyond me...I am
a walking shadow

the yellow street light
stains us for a moment
we vanish from each other

tomorrow sees
dusk and fox
keep the same appointment

only I
am absent
. . .
Donall Dempsey May 2017

she was Swedish
squeamish that a man could
still live at home with his "Mam"

she tried to get him know...think
about an "ecological self"

"You gotta think..."
she informed him
" a mountain!"

he looked like he had
just fallen off
a continental shelf

"Mannnn!" she thought
"He's just never grown up
a Mammy's boy...devoid of self."

he hadn't heard of Lovelock
or even Arne Naess
she spoke better English than he did

he blushed when asked
if he had read Luce Irigaray's

had never heard of Simone
de Beauvoir's THE SECOND ***
just the word made him blush

all he was intent on
was getting his hands on
her ample *******

so shortsighted to go on
a blind date...never again
he talked only to her cleavage

she gave him her number
a false one
the Well Woman's Centre

sang as she quickly
hurried away
Donovan's "First there is a Mountain..."
1.3k · Oct 2018
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018

In the distance
a dog throws its voice

so it seems
the trees are barking.

Sun and shadow
playing tag

between rows and rows
of trees.

France is made of
landscape and light.

I feel as if I am
walking in a painting

that is wet yet.

I nothing but
a mobile little smudge.

I drink in the light
as if my soul thirsted for it.

Now a yellow dog
leaves its post

to chase me half way
down its road.

Now a Yorkie
guards the crossroads.

Here a sheepdog
silently trails me

until it has successfully
seen me off its turf.

I smile sheepishly.

I, lost and found
all at the one time.

Finally the road turns and
the village runs out to meet me.

I, now only lost
in wonder.
Donall Dempsey Mar 2018

- for Noreen -

Spring throws
a switch

and turns the flowers on
even the old stars come

to see
the newest season

and how
the world is getting on.

The blue ball
keeps on spinning

and we haven't fallen
off yet.

Birds keeping on singing
trying to tell us how

it is
but we listen?
The title "Anois teacht an Earraigh" is from an Irish poem Cill Aodáin by the blind poet Antaine Ó Raifteirí (1784-1835). ;One of 9 children who caught the blinded him and killed the others. One of the last things he ever saw was the other children laid out dead.

He lived by playing his fiddle and performing his songs and poems in the mansions of the Anglo-Irish gentry.

His work draws on the forms and idiom of Irish poetry, and although it is regarded as marking the end of the old literary tradition, Ó Raifteirí and his fellow poets did not see themselves in this way.Raftery was lithe and spare in build and not very tall but he was very strong and considered a good wrestler. He always wore a long frieze coat and corduroy breeches.

All the Irish of my generation would have learnt this at school. The rousing Óró, sé do bheatha 'bhaile has almost the same line but it is the coming of summer and I often conflated them...whether it was the coming of spring or summer!  Ah well sure ya can have everything.

Such are the wee little things knocking about inside the head of an Irishman like myself...can't be helped!

I remember passing a little school one day and this wafted out in a myriad of little off-key voices and it was as if little flowers of sound flourished there in mid-air. It was a thing of fragile beauty and I plucked it from the Spring breeze and tucked it behind my mind. 40 years later it resurfaced and made itself known to the old man I had become.

But my now the world had gone on and it was a different Spring that wanted me to put it into words.

.But as we Irish have it: " Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan déag ar amhrán!"

Or to English it for you: " There are two tellings to every story, and twelve versions of every song!"

This is my version with its pale and almost see-through hope with only the Irish title hanging on in there.

This is the great Frank O'Connor's translation.

Now with the springtime
The days will grow longer
And after St. Bride's day'
My sail I'll let go
I put my mind to it,
And I never will linger
Till I find myself back
In the County Mayo.

"Anois teacht an Earraigh
beidh an lá dúl chun shíneadh,
Is tar eis na féil Bríde
ardóigh mé mo sheol.
Go Coillte Mach rachad
ní stopfaidh me choíche
Go seasfaidh mé síos
i lár Chondae Mhaigh Eo."

His most famous poem is his Is Mise Raifteirí ...again a beloved staple of a 60's Irish school day.

Is Mise Raifteirí an file,
Lán dúchais is grádh,
Le súile gan solas,
Le ciúnas gan crá.
Ag dul síar ar m'aistear
Le solas mo chroí
Fann agus tuirseach
Go deireadh mo shlí

Féach anois mé
Is mo chúl le bhfalla
Ag seinm ceoil
Do phócaí folamh

I'm Raftery the poet,
Full of hope and love,
With eyes without sight,
My mind without torment.
Going west on my journey
By the light of my heart.
Weary and tired
To the end of my road

Behold me now
With my back to the wall
Playing music
To empty pockets.

And here is the first verse and chorus of  Óró sé do bheatha abhaile!

’Sé do bheatha, a bhean ba léanmhar
do bé ár gcreach tú bheith i ngéibhinn
do dhúiche bhreá i seilbh meirleach
's tú díolta leis na Gallaibh.


Óró, sé do bheatha bhaile
óró, sé do bheatha bhaile
óró, sé do bheatha bhaile
anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

Hail, oh woman, who was so afflicted,
It was our ruin that you were in chains,
Our fine land in the possession of thieves...
While you were sold to the foreigners!


Oh-ro, welcome home
Oh-ro, welcome home
Oh-ro, welcome home
Now that summer's coming!
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