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~
Donall Dempsey Oct 2015
~
like a walking silence
she steps into a lion's den
of sound
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
he teaches the guitar to speak
his fingers asking questions
the answers such sweet music

*

il enseigne la guitare à parler
ses doigts en posant des questions
les réponses telles de musique douce
Donall Dempsey Nov 2019
,,''''"""""*.

..,,

,,,,,,:;;;




the insects made a fuss of them
like a cloud of full stops and commas
attending a Punctuation Convention
!
Donall Dempsey Mar 2015
!
elle porte l'avenir
dans son ventre
il débutera contre le bout de ses doigts
*
she carries the future
in her belly
it kicks against her fingertips
!!
Donall Dempsey Mar 2015
!!
son visage dispersés
à travers les carreaux
les cris de miroir
*
her face scattered
all over the tiles
the mirror screaming
!!!
Donall Dempsey Mar 2015
!!!
une feuille déambule dans la porte
assis dans mon siège préféré
Je suis assis sur le plancher

*

a leaf saunters in the door
sits in my favourite seat
I sit on the floor
Donall Dempsey Mar 2015
mis à sécher
votre soutien-gorge mouchetée
utilisé comme un hamac par un rouge-gorge
*
hung out to dry
your speckled bra
used as a hammock by a robin
Donall Dempsey May 2015
your heart
the only altar
I can kneel to
votre cœur
le seul autel
Je peux à s'agenouiller
Donall Dempsey Apr 2015
son faux sourire
nage dans un verre d'eau
dort à côté d'elle

*
her false smile
swims in a glass of water
sleeps beside her
?
Donall Dempsey Jun 2015
?
she yawns hugely
"Go to sleep love!"
"No! Only my breath is tired!"
Donall Dempsey Nov 2015
the insects made a fuss of them
like a cloud of full stops and commas
attending a Punctuation Convention
Donall Dempsey Feb 2016
& . . .

She felt like
a lady

she had cut out of
a magazine

when she was 13
stuck in a scrapbook

because she wanted to be
'her."

But, she had stuck her
in wrongly

had to tear her
/out/again/stick her/in again

only her feet
had to be torn off.

She felt like that
now

watching her feet in lurid green shoes

move her about
the streets of her home town

50 years later
& trying to become

the young girl
of then

who had wanted to be...
. . .come

a cut-out-woman
in a make-believe world.

A cyclist crashed
into a tree

too busy looking at her
just as a feather

floated in front of
her.

Noise & feather
choreographed together.

Synchronised serendipity.

She felt as if Icarus
had fallen into the sea

in a Breughel painting
in an Auden poem

& only she was there
to see

the mythical man which
her father had told her of

so long ago.

In the so long ago.

There was a tiny stone
in her shoe.

It was hurting her
quite badly

but she kept on
walking out of

her life
forever.

The river roared
like an angry God

( flowing under
the steel bridge )

a serpent of
coiled evil

who demanded
sacrifice of her.

She climbed over
the guard rail

&. . .
Donall Dempsey Feb 2018
& . . .

She felt like
a lady

she had cut out of
a magazine

when she was 13
stuck in a scrapbook

because she wanted to be
'her."

But, she had stuck her
in wrongly

had to tear her
/out/again/stick her/in again

only her feet
had to be torn off.

She felt like that
now

watching her feet in lurid green shoes

move her about
the streets of her home town

50 years later
& trying to become

the young girl
of then

who had wanted to be...
. . .come

a cut-out-woman
in a make-believe world.

A cyclist crashed
into a tree

too busy looking at her
just as a feather

floated in front of
her.

Noise & feather
choreographed together.

Synchronised serendipity.

She felt as if Icarus
had fallen into the sea

in a Breughel painting
in an Auden poem

& only she was there
to see

the mythical man which
her father had told her of

so long ago.

In the so long ago.

There was a tiny stone
in her shoe.

It was hurting her
quite badly

but she kept on
walking out of

her life
forever.

The river roared
like an angry God

( flowing under
the steel bridge )

a serpent of
coiled evil

who demanded
sacrifice of her.

She climbed over
the guard rail

&. . .
Donall Dempsey Feb 2019
& . . .

She felt like
a lady

she had cut out of
a magazine

when she was 13
stuck in a scrapbook

because she wanted to be
'her."

But, she had stuck her
in wrongly

had to tear her
/out/again/stick her/in again

only her feet
had to be torn off.

She felt like that
now

watching her feet in lurid green shoes

move her about
the streets of her home town

50 years later
& trying to become

the young girl
of then

who had wanted to be...
. . .come

a cut-out-woman
in a make-believe world.

A cyclist crashed
into a tree

too busy looking at her
just as a feather

floated in front of
her.

Noise & feather
choreographed together.

Synchronised serendipity.

She felt as if Icarus
had fallen into the sea

in a Breughel painting
in an Auden poem

& only she was there
to see

the mythical man which
her father had told her of

so long ago.

In the so long ago.

There was a tiny stone
in her shoe.

It was hurting her
quite badly

but she kept on
walking out of

her life
forever.

The river roared
like an angry God

( flowing under
the steel bridge )

a serpent of
coiled evil

who demanded
sacrifice of her.

She climbed over
the guard rail

&. . .
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
"I'm a hundred per cent
behind you..."

she reassures me.

But, when:
I look behind me...she's

a 1000%
not there.
Donall Dempsey Mar 2020
1966 -AND ALL THAT!

Asks me up for
a snifter...so she does!

"Don't mind if I do!"
I all cocky like.

Knowing I am in
for a bit of the other.

But when I get up
find she's a history buff.

The Battle of  ****** Hastings
runs around her living room

in some  boring Norman
cartoon in full colour.

Whoever did this
wasn't a very good drawer.

She does that trick of
removing her bra from her sleeve.

I love it when a bird does that.
"Glad to get out of that!" she smirks.

It lands on the bird cage.
The parrot goes nuts.

Opening skirmish methinks
in the battle of our wills.

OK I admit I'm a bit like Alfie.
Michael Caine but slightly fatter.

On the couch  - her mini riding up.
Sneak an arm around a shoulder.

Getting bolder - place a palm
upon a fishnet thigh.

But she only wants to talk about
Harold and how he lost the battle.

My libido shattered.
"Hic **** Rex interfectus est!"

That famous feigned retreat
that led to the rout.

Was it feigned or not?
I couldn't give a ..!

And that was one in the eye
for that Harold geezer -  or was it?

The Bayeux Tapestry
tells no lies or does it?

When is a tapestry not a tapestry?
When it's an embroidery.

She tells it as if it was
a close run thing.

"Like this year's FA Cup
when the Owls lose a two goal lead

and the Toffees beat them
3 goals to 2.

"Stand up if you won the war!"
One can imagine the chant.

I understand it when
she puts it like that.

And the geezers on the hillock?
Were they placed there before or

after the famous running away?
Her eyes brim with tears.

And it's this passion of hers
that draws me in.

That and the devil
in the details.

Like the ******* putting on
his chain mail the wrong way.

Or the Papal ring
with the tooth of St. Peter

hidden underneath its stone.
How do they get these things?

Or Haley's Comet streaking
across their skies.

"Isti mirantvr stellam"
she whispers to herself.

One can imagine a commentary on it,
"They think it's all over...well...it is now!"

But she still goes on and on
about it...refuses to let it go.

Finally she gives over
and gives in.

A one night stand.
I admit it.

But a one night stand that's
lasted 30 years now!

On our purple anniversary
I give it to her.

She thrilled
to bits.

Hill and Rumbles's
"The Defence of Wessex:

The Burghal Hidage &
Anglo-Saxon Fortifications."

She brings it to bed.
I do the washing up.

Put out a milk bottle
and the cat.

The cat sneaks
back in again.

I no longer looking like
Michael Caine.

"Isti mirantvr stellam."
I whisper to myself.
"Isti mirantvr stellam"( "These marvel at the star.")

In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Eilmer of Malmesbury may have seen Halley previously in 989, as he wrote of it in 1066:

"You've come, have you? ... You've come, you source of tears to many mothers, you evil. I hate you! It is long since I saw you; but as I see you now you are much more terrible, for I see you brandishing the downfall of my country. I hate you!"

"Hic Harold rex interfectus est!"( "Here King Harold has been killed." )

One can guess what had been killed in our protagonist's trousers...the King of his anatomy laid low with all this talk of history.


The Toffees or Everton got to the final by not conceding a single goal but alas went 2 nill down to the Owls or Sheffield Wednesday. But made an amazing comeback and won the FA Cup of 1966  by three goals to two.

"Stand up if you won the war!" was the chant of the English only a few weeks later won the World Cup by beating Germany 4-2.
Donall Dempsey Jan 2020
7 TIMES 7 IS...?

When I was four
I fretted

over things I couldn't do
like tie my tie...tie my shoe

laces were
beyond me

as were such things as
7 times 7 is.  . ?

My Da  would get it right
Every time...I'd...eh...forget.

Or he would tie my laces
so they couldn't come undone.

Or do me a splendid
Windsor knot.

For the life of me I
simply could - not.

And when I grew up to be
5

would I know by then
maybe...by 10.

Was never sure
about being sure.

Ties...laces...times tables
defeating me.

My father all love
and hugs and smiles.

Now them...them I
could do.

And my father could
pin a river down

a blue line flowing
in an atlas

watching it wriggle
under his thumb.

"Vltava!"
he'd command it

and it would pause
to listen to its name.

He told me the river
lived in Prague

and that was somewhere
I...forget.

And here I am at almost 64
gazing at the Vltava in person.

Know it for what
it is

and all its swans
all its swans.

I even now where
Prague is now.

I stand in its
December.

My father who art in Heaven
I pray to you

as I used to do
when I was 2.

You better
than any God

I could ever
imagine.

So here I be in Praha
watching the waters

of the Vltava
repeating a Czech tongue twister

laughing at its absence
of vowels.

"Prd krt skrz drn, zprv zhlt hrst zrn!"" *
What a howl!

Still have trouble with
those ****** laces.

My wife laughs as
they come undone and. . .come undone.

**** them!
**** them!

Can only make a bad stab
at a Windsor knot.

Get by by
not wearing a tie.

Hugs and loves
and smiles?

I know them
by heart.

I hug you
in my mind's eye.

Know now
that 7 times 7

is and always will be.
. . .
***

* Prd krt skrz drn, zprv zhlt hrst zrn!

A mole farted through grass, having swallowed a handful of grain!
Donall Dempsey Dec 2017
A BIRD SOMEWHERE SINGS

He smiled.
Death smiled too.

Took a tiny sip of water.
As did Death.

Death now
mimicking his every movement.

Shadowing him.
Becoming him.

....in time.

Death stared
out of the mirror.

But the man didn't
recognise

that this was
his death.

He had only 2 minutes
left to live.

The man went on doing
some insignificant

ordinary things.

D.I.Y.
finally getting around to it.

Death copying the least
gesture

like a comedy duo
in a vaudville act.

Each little tic
exact.

Like Groucho.
Like Harpo.

Death lying on the floor.
Adopting the same posture.

Arms flung out.
Eyes staring up

...into the nothing.

The radio keeps on
talking.

The phone
rings.

A bird
somewhere sings.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2019
A BIRD SOMEWHERE SINGS

He smiled.
Death smiled too.

Took a tiny sip of water.
As did Death.

Death now
mimicking his every movement.

Shadowing him.
Becoming him.

....in time.

Death stared
out of the mirror.

But the man didn't
recognise

that this was
his death.

He had only 2 minutes
left to live.

The man went on doing
some insignificant

ordinary things.

D.I.Y.
finally getting around to it.

Death copying the least
gesture

like a comedy duo
in a vaudeville act.

Each little tic
exact.

Like Groucho.
Like Harpo.

Death lying on the floor.
Adopting the same posture.

Arms flung out.
Eyes staring up

...into the nothing.

The radio keeps on
talking.

The phone
rings.

A bird
somewhere sings.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2018
A BIRD SOMEWHERE SINGS

He smiled.
Death smiled too.

Took a tiny sip of water.
As did Death.

Death now
mimicking his every movement.

Shadowing him.
Becoming him.

....in time.

Death stared
out of the mirror.

But the man didn't
recognise

that this was
his death.

He had only 2 minutes
left to live.

The man went on doing
some insignificant

ordinary things.

D.I.Y.
finally getting around to it.

Death copying the least
gesture

like a comedy duo
in a vaudeville act.

Each little tic
exact.

Like Groucho.
Like Harpo.

Death lying on the floor.
Adopting the same posture.

Arms flung out.
Eyes staring up

...into the nothing.

The radio keeps on
talking.

The phone
rings.

A bird
somewhere sings.
Donall Dempsey Mar 2017
A BIRD WAS EXPLORING TIME AND SPACE

March was doing that thing
where it was just becoming

April and
the thunder

muttered to itself
'bout something or other.

"Mumblemumblemumble!"
it rumbled.

Very un-Eliotish.

Rain fell, but
its heart wasn't in it.

A bird was exploring
time and space

sticking a little bit of song
on to a quarter to two

where the Downs come up
and say howdy do to the horizon.

You: were as dead
as ever.

All memory could do
was draw a child's

stickman version
of you.

I still refused to
believe it.

But time was
wearing me down.

That bird just kept on
trying to glue

that one piece of time
to that one piece of place.

But it just wouldn't
do.

I turned and
walked away.

"Where is tomorrow? In another world..."
as the poet had said.

Can't say I could
answer that question.
Donall Dempsey Jun 2020
A BIT OF A JOKER

Death takes down
space.

Death dismantles
time.

"You no longer
need these." he smirks.

"Just human constructs...
part of life's illusions."


He erased the sky.
He packed up the mountains.

He rolled up the horizon.
He removed my name.

"No need of these
where we're going."

"Oh..." he told me
as if he had forgotten

"...leave your memories
they are no longer necessary."


Death looked around
"Well, that's that then!"

"To infinity and beyond!"
he chortled.

I hadn't figured on Death
being a bit of a joker.
Donall Dempsey Jan 2018
A BLACKBIRD CHIPS AWAY AT IT

here on the shore
of your death
only time between us

remember walking with you
in the last century
this century I walk alone

Time lends me sleep...dreams
I conspire to meet you there
together we outwit death

I assault the world
with my grief
embarrassed it turns away

the world
not big enough
to contain your death

I am bound
in a nutshell
even grief tires of me

happiness hurts
even for daring
just to be there

I don't forget you
I just can't
remember you as you are

happiness shushes me
"Hush...hush!" it soothes
my guilty tears

an invincible sky
frozen silence
a blackbird chips away at it
Donall Dempsey Jan 2020
A BLACKBIRD CHIPS AWAY AT IT

here on the shore
of your death
only time between us

remember walking with you
in the last century
this century I walk alone

Time lends me sleep...dreams
I conspire to meet you there
together we outwit death

I assault the world
with my grief
embarrassed it turns away

the world
not big enough
to contain your death

I am bound
in a nutshell
even grief tires of me

happiness hurts
even for daring
just to be there

I don't forget you
I just can't
remember you as you are

happiness shushes me
"Hush...hush!" it soothes
my guilty tears

an invincible sky
frozen silence
a blackbird chips away at it
Donall Dempsey Jan 2019
A BLACKBIRD CHIPS AWAY AT IT

here on the shore
of your death
only time between us

remember walking with you
in the last century
this century I walk alone

Time lends me sleep...dreams
I conspire to meet you there
together we outwit death

I assault the world
with my grief
embarrassed it turns away

the world
not big enough
to contain your death

I am bound
in a nutshell
even grief tires of me

happiness hurts
even for daring
just to be there

I don't forget you
I just can't
remember you as you are

happiness shushes me
"Hush...hush!" it soothes
my guilty tears

an invincible sky
frozen silence
a blackbird chips away at it
Donall Dempsey Sep 2016
A BLACK VIOLIN ABANDONED IN THE SNOW

Being dead is like
being a haunted house

and you are
its resident ghost

like a black violin
abandoned in the snow

for no good reason
other than

that's just the way
it is.

Actually it is the future
that is haunting you

the things you never
got to do.

The life left un-lived.

The days that should have been
yours.

That's why being dead
hurts like hell

the what you didn't do
or didn't get to do

that leaves you strung out on the air
the great regret

still cursed with consciousness.
Donall Dempsey Oct 2017
A BOY MADE OF LEAVES
( for Paul Kearney )

The Curragh
5,000 acres of fun

where a boy
could roam

through all the realms
of a 1960's childhood.

Our house is gone now
only two pillars still stand

leading into an empty
nothingness.

I shoo a sheep
out of the bedroom

once ours
our voices carved in the air.

Here a sheep pees furiously
in what had been the bathroom.

The house has become
a ghost

haunting itself..

I still the little boy
hiding in the Marian Shrine

invisible to one
and all

under an ocean
of leaves

startling the passerbys
with a quick "Booo!"

Or a "Poo to you!"

The ****** Mary blushes
upon her pedestal

frowning upon
our antics.

Our shame
telling it in confession.

The wind scatters
my childhood.

I walk into the mist
erasing me bit by

...bit.
Chatting to Paul Kearney  on facebook and tripping down memory lane...he remembering me from a time I couldn't even remember myself! The Marian Shrine beside the church somehow came up and we both had memories of playing amongst a myriad of leaves. I used to hide under them...so many...so many and call out things to make a statue of the ****** say: "Oh sweet Jaysus!"It was great fun to see people startled out of themselves trying to figure out where on earth( not even thinking of an invisible boy drowning under lots of leaves)the voice was coming from. My Godmother Breda Ryan passed by and was given the treatment only to say: "Those leaves have the voice of a boy I know...how strange! I hope those leaves go to confession!" So it was I was given 10 Holy Marys  and advised not to startle the good folk of the Curragh with my leafy voice. I never did it again or since...though now I am sorely tempted!
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018
A BOY MADE OF LEAVES
( for Paul Kearney )

The Curragh!
5,000 acres of fun

where a boy
could roam

through all the realms
of a 1960's childhood.

Our house is gone now
only two pillars still stand

leading into an empty
nothingness.

I shoo a sheep
out of the bedroom

once ours
our voices carved in the air.

Here a sheep pees furiously
in what had been the bathroom.

The house has become
a ghost

haunting itself..

I still the little boy
hiding in the Marian Shrine

invisible to one
and all

under an ocean
of leaves

startling the passerbys
with a quick "Booo!"

Or a "Poo to you!"

The ****** Mary blushes
upon her pedestal

frowning upon
our antics.

Our shame
telling it in confession.

The wind scatters
my childhood.

I walk into the mist
erasing me bit by

...bit.
***

Chatting to Paul Kearney on facebook and tripping down memory lane...he remembering me from a time I couldn't even remember myself! The Marian Shrine beside the church somehow came up and we both had memories of playing amongst a myriad of leaves. I used to hide under them...so many...so many and call out things to make a statue of the ****** say: "Oh sweet Jaysus!"It was great fun to see people startled out of themselves trying to figure out where on earth( not even thinking of an invisible boy drowning under lots of leaves)the voice was coming from.

My Godmother Breda Ryan passed by and was given the treatment only to say: "Those leaves have the voice of a boy I know...how strange! I hope those leaves go to confession!"

So it was I was given 10 Holy Marys and three How's yer Fathers and advised not to startle the good folk of the Curragh with my leafy voice.Oh I was a bad leaf when I was small. But I have since turned over a new leaf.  I never did it again or since...though now I am sorely tempted!
Donall Dempsey Jun 2020
A BRIEF HISTORY OF A LITTLE GIRL

she's a mere three
demands to know
"...the history of me..."

well, now I say
that was a long time ago
"...try to remember..." she pleads.

I remember when you
first came out of your shell
hatched into a lovely little girl

you were my duckling
everywhere I went
there you were

I could hear you cry
even before you cried
you made me a good daddy/mummy

your dreams
staining the blue
pillow with golden curls

every night the moon
would come to our window
just to take a peep at you

one day your name
perched upon you
and never flew off again

you were a fairy story
I had never heard before
and wanted to hear more

once when you fell
you hit the road
"Naughty road for falling me!"

"No I never!"
she squeals
"Oh yes you did!" I tickle

"Is there any more of me?"
"Oh loads...loads more
but I too old and tired!"

"Well..!" she tells her dolls
"He tells a good story but
shhh...it's not all true!"

the dolls gasp in disbelief
having drunk  down
the dregs of every detail
Donall Dempsey Apr 2015
You smile
just like

my favourite foreign movie

seen only once
without subtitles

so I had to guess
the gist of it.

I continue to
re-run

that smile

in the cinema
of my head

as if my libido
were an enthusiastic critic

giving rave
reviews of it.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2020
A CHAIR IN THE SKY

But now--Manhattan holds me
To a chair in the sky
With the bird in my ears
And boats in my eyes
Going by

Joni Mitchell -  A Chair in the Sky from her 1979 Mingus album

**

I break cleanly through the dream
gasping for morning
"Well, hello there!" smiles the newest day

I still had memories
clasped in my hand
but they lost their lustre  in the light

"Glad to have you back with us!"
shouted the room a little too loudly
and the furniture agreed wholeheartedly

they needed a human
to give them a purpose
otherwise they were just pieces of wood

sunlight grovelled
fawning at my feet
licking the tips of my toes

the window had arranged
trees and flowers and fields
to prove the existence of a world

the curtains breathed in then
out again
the lungs of the room

I gathered myself together
put on my Past...searching for my Present
"Now where did I put my Future?"

"Read me...read me!"
a dog-eared book demanded
barking page 69 all the time

"Shut it!" I told it
shutting it
it falling silent

soon the morning came
fully into being
"How do you do?" it enquired politely

"Fine..." I lied "Fine!"
now where the hell
did I leave my mind

I found it under
some dried up dreams
that had escaped from sleep

my mind was a little rusty
but still worked
even if a little slowly

"Ok...ok!" shouted the day
"Let's get this
existence on the road!"

"Do you have to shout..?" I moaned
"No..." it whispered
"...but can we get on with it!"

Reality is...I thought
a foreign country
they do things differently there.
Donall Dempsey Sep 2015
The scarecrow
balances a moon
upon a red mittened hand

a mouse
looks out
of his left eye

the scarecrow
shivers
with the change of weather

I see he still wears
my old coat
it suits him better

in the inside pocket
an old Metro ticket
an unfinished poem

the words indecipherable now
looking like a scarecrow
wrote them

in my dreams
the scarecrow takes the train
finishes the poem

his ending
better than
mind

I toss the moon
from one red mittened hand
to the other

a mouse looks out
my left eye
I wonder how the scarecrow's doing?

I shiver
with delight
it's gonna be a long night
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
A clock
...ticks.

A vase
reflects upon itself

in an enormous ornate
gilt mirror

admires
her own flowers

& how they are
arranged.

A fire
spits sparks

sending shadows
scuttling up walls.

A coal scuttle
is either half empty/half full.

A clock
strikes nine
&... chimes

slightly ahead of
the real time.

.A picture
quaint & antique

hangs slightly askew
against the horrid

wall paper
& its unattractive roses.

A record
(an old shellac 78)    

has found a scratch
&  keeps returning to it

picking at the musical phrase
like a scab.

Caruso’s... got...  got... hiccups.

One mirror
gazes into the face
of another mirror.

Both enamoured
of the other

seeing only
themselves.

An un-drunk cup of tea
cools steadily

leaving a thin skin
on top.

A sugar lump
has come to rest

on a small
Turkish carpet

depicting
the delights of Paradise.

A moth falls madly in love
with an old flame

but it soon fizzles
out.

The only thing living
in this room

is an old tattered tortoiseshell
cat asleep

by her master’s
stockinged feet

so deep
she hasn’t even heard



Death
enter
&
leave.


A clock
...ticks.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2019
A CLOCK TICKS

A clock
...ticks.

A vase
reflects upon itself

in an enormous ornate
gilt mirror

admires
her own flowers

& how they are
arranged.

A fire
spits sparks

sending shadows
scuttling up walls.

A coal scuttle
is either half empty/half full.

A clock
strikes nine
&... chimes

slightly ahead of
the real time.

.A picture
quaint & antique

hangs slightly askew
against the horrid

wall paper
& its unattractive roses.

A record
(an old shellac 78)    

has found a scratch
&  keeps returning to it

picking at the musical phrase
like a scab.

Caruso’s... got...  got... hiccups.

One mirror
gazes into the face
of another mirror.

Both enamoured
of the other

seeing only
themselves.

An un-drunk cup of tea
cools steadily

leaving a thin skin
on top.

A sugar lump
has come to rest

on a small
Turkish carpet

depicting
the delights of Paradise.

A moth falls madly in love
with an old flame

but it soon fizzles
out.

The only thing living
in this room

is an old tattered tortoiseshell
cat asleep

by her master’s
stockinged feet

so deep
she hasn’t even heard

Death
enter
&
leave.

A clock
...ticks.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2017
A CLOCK TICKS

A clock
...ticks.

A vase
reflects upon itself

in an enormous ornate
gilt mirror

admires
her own flowers

& how they are
arranged.

A fire
spits sparks

sending shadows
scuttling up walls.

A coal scuttle
is either half empty/half full.

A clock
strikes nine

&... chimes

slightly ahead of
the real time.

A picture
quaint & antique

hangs slightly askew
against the horrid

wall paper
& its unattractive roses.

A record
(an old shellac 78)    

has found a scratch
&  keeps returning to it

picking at the musical phrase
like a scab.

Caruso’s... got...  got... hiccups.

One mirror
(gazes into the face)
of another mirror.

Both enamoured
of the other

seeing only
themselves.

An un-drunk cup of tea
cools steadily

leaving a thin skin
on top.

A sugar lump
has come to rest

on a small
Turkish carpet

depicting
the delights of Paradise.

A moth falls madly in love
with an old flame

but it soon fizzles
out.

The only thing living
in this room

is an old tattered tortoiseshell
cat asleep

by her master’s
stockinged feet

so deep
she hasn’t even heard

Death

enter

&

leave.

A clock
...ticks.
Donall Dempsey Oct 2018
A CORPORAL'S DEFINITION OF POETRY

The perfect summer's day.
The sky a postcard blue.

Hate distorted voices...faces
chanting: "STICK IT IN HIS GUTS!"

A lark ascending
throws itself against the vault of Heaven.

Only to be
rejected.

"...MAKE IT HURT...TWIST IT ABOUT
**** THE *****ING *******!"

God has a sick sense
of humour to have

bayonet practice
on such a perfect day.

The world whirlpools
down the plug hole

of Corporal 'Orrible's
almighty mouth.

He hates me because I
(Pt. Dempsey D. No. 835572)

am not showing enough
hate to **** a sandbag.

Sweat trickles down my spine
vertebra by vertebra.

The sandbag ***** the blade in
and won't give it back again.

I pull it out and fall
upon my derrière.

The sandbag bleeds sand.
Mocks my efforts

which displaces the book
I have about my person.

"What's this...what's this!"
Corporal 'Orrible hisses.

"A book, Corporal!"
"I can ****** well see it's a book!"

"A poetry book, Corporal!
IN PARENTHESIS by David Jones."

"In...in...wotsis do you think I'm
thick or wot!"

"Wot, Corporal?"
"Don't you wot me sunny Jim!"

His spit
peppers my face.

"There isn't enough white space
around the words for it to be a poem!"

"That's not an accurate definition
of a poem, Corporal!"

He froths at the mouth
tears it in half...throws it over his shoulder.

"Why you impudent little pup!
*** that rifle up...up....up!"

He runs me around the training ground
three times and then three times.

Later I go back and find
only half of it.

The half I have already read.
A sheep is nibbling it.

But like the Corporal it isn't
to his taste.

Over 40 years go by and
here I am an ex-army man.

Finishing the second half of
Jones' IN PARENTHESIS.

Remembering all too well the hell of
running 'round the training ground

three times and then three times
with my rifle up above my head.

Oh the agony of bearing arms.
Remembering too never to argue

with a corporal's definition of
poetry during bayonet practice.
Donall Dempsey Jun 2018
A COUPS DE POURQUOI

Time waiting
like a lowly servant

coughing politely every
now and then

to remind them that
ahem...the world is...waiting

their ******* laughing
"So, let it...wait!"

The world tapping a toe
impatiently

eyes turned
up to Heaven

Time shrugging its shoulders
in a "what-can-I do" way.

She laughs at her and him
( it was always her and him )

puppets now of the imagination
memory's home movie

Time's revenge

remembering how it had been
now how

the train hurtles
through a darkness

her reflection made of night
and cold glass

hung there
suspended

staring into her own
crying eyes

knowing it could
never last what

a fool she'd been
she scorned herself

she this living
painting of the past

Reality once again
getting the upper hand

Time and the World
put in their place

the expensive meal
uneaten on the plate

the ship leavng
the town behind

slowly so
reluctant to do so

before distance and the dark
take control

'til the town too
is nothing

but a memory
hostage to the past

Jacques Brel's voice
lost inside her head

"...a coups de pourquoi..."

Now, here, somewhere
in mid-Atlantic

she finds herself
in the middle of nowhere

the middle of nowhere
exactly

where she
wanted to be

"oublier le temps
oublier le temps
oublier le temps."
Ne me quitte pas
Il faut oublier
Tout peut s'oublier
Qui s'enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentOublier le tempsendus
Et le temps perdu
A savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
A coups de pourquoi
Le cœur du bonheur
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Do not leave me now
We must just forget
Yes, we can forget
All that’s flown beyond
Let’s forget the time
The misunderstands
And the wasted time
To find out how
To forget these hours
Which sometimes ****
The blows of why,
A heart full of joy.
Do not leave me now
Do not leave me now
Do not leave me now
Do not leave me now

JACQUES BREL NE ME QUITTE PAS
Donall Dempsey Jun 2020
A COUPS DE POURQUOI

Time waiting
like a lowly servant

coughing politely every
now and then

to remind them that
ahem...the world is...waiting

their ******* laughing
"So, let it...wait!"

The world tapping a toe
impatiently

eyes turned
up to Heaven

Time shrugging its shoulders
in a "what-can-I do" way.

She laughs at her and him
( it was always her and him )

puppets now of the imagination
memory's home movie

Time's revenge

remembering how it had been
now how

the train hurtles
through a darkness

her reflection made of night
and cold glass

hung there
suspended

staring into her own
crying eyes

knowing it could
never last what

a fool she'd been
she scorned herself

she this living
painting of the past

Reality once again
getting the upper hand

Time and the World
put in their place

the expensive meal
uneaten on the plate

the ship leaving
the town behind

slowly so
reluctant to do so

before distance and the dark
take control

'til the town too
is nothing

but a memory
hostage to the past

Jacques Brel's voice
lost inside her head

"...a coups de pourquoi..."

Now, here, somewhere
in mid-Atlantic

she finds herself
in the middle of nowhere

the middle of nowhere
exactly

where she
wanted to be

"oublier le temps
oublier le temps
oublier le temps."
Donall Dempsey Jun 2019
A COUPS DE POURQUOI

Time waiting
like a lowly servant

coughing politely every
now and then

to remind them that
ahem...the world is...waiting

their ******* laughing
"So, let it...wait!"

The world tapping a toe
impatiently

eyes turned
up to Heaven

Time shrugging its shoulders
in a "what-can-I do" way.

She laughs at her and him
( it was always her and him )

puppets now of the imagination
memory's home movie

Time's revenge

remembering how it had been
now how

the train hurtles
through a darkness

her reflection made of night
and cold glass

hung there
suspended

staring into her own
crying eyes

knowing it could
never last what

a fool she'd been
she scorned herself

she this living
painting of the past

Reality once again
getting the upper hand

Time and the World
put in their place

the expensive meal
uneaten on the plate

the ship leavng
the town behind

slowly so
reluctant to do so

before distance and the dark
take control

'til the town too
is nothing

but a memory
hostage to the past

Jacques Brel's voice
lost inside her head

"...a coups de pourquoi..."

Now, here, somewhere
in mid-Atlantic

she finds herself
in the middle of nowhere

the middle of nowhere
exactly

where she
wanted to be

"oublier le temps
oublier le temps
oublier le temps."
Donall Dempsey Dec 2019
ACQUIRING THE LANGUAGE

Like a fairy tale princess I
pricking my thumb on a word

and falling asleep
in its sound.

"Briar...!" I whisper
to my self.

Become the word,
All its syllables.

I never want to
wake from its dream.

The word is
my world now.

I chant it
as a spell.

I say it slow.
I say it fast.

Fast like stretched elastic.
Then like elastic snapping back.

But the large people
who think they know everything

always come and spoil my fun
kiss me on my curls.

"Ok..time for tea..." or
"Ya wanna do wee wees!"

NO I could scream
"I'm playing with my newest word!"

I in love
with my word.

Wanting to live in it
for ever.

But as it happens
it is time for tea.

And I have to...have to
wee.
Donall Dempsey Apr 2017
ADAGIO

the music
tiptoes

through
the room

careful not to
wake the sleeping

photographs
of the dead

their lives
trapped behind glass

amongst vast fields
of wallpaper violets

stopping to
caress

the singular
beauty

of the rose
dreaming

in its chipped
vase

of the garden
where it was born

curtains led
by a breeze

into their dance
gazing upon the green

that unfurls
about the house

the music
wounded now

by a tear
that grown upon

her cheek
note by note

a woman staring into space

the cat asleep
upon her toes

the music retreating
back into the mahogany cabinet

curling itself
into its circle

a whirlpool of black
shellac

the music
lost in the silence

only its breathing
audible now

in the runoff
groove

the needle returning
to its proper place

with a click
the last light

stealing across
the lawn
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
The music
tiptoes

through
the room

careful not to
wake the sleeping

photographs
of the dead

their lives
trapped behind glass

amongst vast fields
of wallpaper violets

stopping to
caress

the singular
beauty

of the rose
dreaming

in its chipped
vase

of the garden
where it was born

curtains led
by a breeze

into their dance
gazing upon the green

that unfurls
about the house

the music
wounded now

by a tear
that grown upon

her cheek
note by note

a woman staring into space

the cat asleep
upon her toes

the music retreating
back into the mahogany cabinet

curling itself
into its circle

a whirlpool of black
shellac

the music
lost in the silence

only its breathing
audible now

in the runoff
groove

the needle returning
to its proper place

with a click
the last light

stealing across
the lawn
Donall Dempsey Aug 2019
A DINOSAUR EATING THE NIGHT

Death had frozen
his mind

and all his musings become icicles
stalactites and stalagmites  of thought.

He snapped a thought off
an even number of stalactites and stalagmites .

Then he placed them one by
one in his jaws

like row upon row of
dinosaur teeth.

"Roar!' he roared
roaring himself out of this

"whatever it is!"

"Roar!" he roared again

eating the night
and all it brought

with his new stalactitestalagmite
dinosaur teeth.

When the night was all
eaten he

lay back and
fell asleep

inside the dream's
dream.

"Brother!" he said

and his dead brother
comforted him as if

he was not dead.

"Brother!" he cried

but the world had
reappeared

ready for the new day
that was spread before it.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2020
A DINOSAUR EATING THE NIGHT

Death had frozen
his mind

and all his musings become icicles
stalactites and stalagmites  of thought.

He snapped a thought off
an even number of stalactites and stalagmites .

Then he placed them one by
one in his jaws

like row upon row of
dinosaur teeth.

"Roar!' he roared
roaring himself out of this

"whatever it is!"

"Roar!" he roared again

eating the night
and all it brought

with his new stalactitestalagmite
dinosaur teeth.

When the night was all
eaten he

lay back and
fell asleep

inside the dream's
dream.

"Brother!" he said

and his dead brother
comforted him as if

he was not dead.

"Brother!" he cried

but the world had
reappeared

ready for the new day
that was spread before it.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2016
A DINOSAUR EATING THE NIGHT

Death had frozen
his mind

and all his musings become icicles
stalactites and stalagmites  of thought.

He snapped a thought off
an even number of stalactites and stalagmites .

Then he placed them one by
one in his jaws

like row upon row of
dinosaur teeth.

"Roar!' he roared
roaring himself out of this

"whatever it is!"

"Roar!" he roared again

eating the night
and all it brought

with his new stalactitestalagmite
dinosaur teeth.

When the night was all
eaten he

lay back and
fell asleep

inside the dream's
dream.

"Brother!" he said

and his dead brother
comforted him as if

he was not dead.

"Brother!" he cried

but the world had
reappeared

ready for the new day
that was spread before it.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2015
We had the best table
at the very edge of creation.

Our waiter
( the Devil you know )

looking so
debonaire  and almost human

rattling off
an expensive menu.

Embarrassingly I had to have it translated into Mortal.

The Devil's faux
supernatural accent

really grated
and I could detect

a slight Aberystwyth
tone.

"Now, this night
of nights

we are serving
a very rare Kraken

fried in a rich
imagination.

Or a superb Leviathan
basted in  delicious mythological sauce.

I'm afraid the slightly sautéed  souls are off.

And to drink
we have the finest minds

( from all time )

our cellars are the envy
of the Imaginary.

Or may I be so bold as to suggest
the latest universe?

Or a sparkling non-alcoholic
sub-conscious.

And for starters?
Some screams perhaps?"

God burps:
"I pray thee, pardon!"

I apologised
said I had already eaten

in a previous life
and that I was

anyway
a dreamatarian.

But if I could
have a glass of H2O?

I listened to the table talk
understanding very little

I didn't speak
fluent Creationese.

I politely made my excuses
and left

...before the after dinner
speeches.
Donall Dempsey Feb 2018
A DOOR AJAR ON REALITY

The blackbird led
his wife

up the garden path

as if the crazy paving
had been laid especially

for them &
their kind.

I thought it odd
that

they walked instead
of flew

as if they were acting
the human.

They both
deep in conversation

about bird
current affairs

or gossip
about those noisy robins.

When they hit the deck
they both stood

in a deck chair
each

continuing what
they had been

conversing
about.

Maybe blackbirds
had taken over

the world
& I

the last human
to know.

Or, all humans
had been changed

into blackbirds.

They suddenly
made loud caw.

I took to the air
& flew.


Donall Dempsey Feb 2016
A DOOR AJAR ON REALITY

The blackbird led
his wife

up the garden path

as if the crazy paving
had been laid especially

for them &
their kind.

I thought it odd
that

they walked instead
of flew

as if they were acting
the human.

They both
deep in conversation

about bird
current affairs

or gossip
about those noisy robins.

When they hit the deck
they both stood

in a deck chair
each

continuing what
they had been

conversing
about.

Maybe blackbirds
had taken over

the world
& I

the last human
to know.

Or, all humans
had been changed

into blackbirds.

They suddenly
made loud caw.

I took to the air
& flew.


“I want to make a book that will change all men. That will lead them where they never consented to go….a door simply ajar on reality,”

Antonin Artaud (1896 – 1948)
A DOOR AJAR ON REALITY

The blackbird led
his wife

up the garden path

as if the crazy paving
had been laid especially

for them &
their kind.

I thought it odd
that

they walked instead
of flew

as if they were acting
the human.

They both
deep in conversation

about bird
current affairs

or gossip
about those noisy robins.

When they hit the deck
they both stood

in a deck chair
each

continuing what
they had been

conversing
about.

Maybe blackbirds
had taken over

the world
& I

the last human
to know.

Or, all humans
had been changed

into blackbirds.

They suddenly
made loud caw.

I took to the air
& flew.
Donall Dempsey Feb 2019
A DOOR AJAR ON REALITY

The blackbird led
his wife

up the garden path

as if the crazy paving
had been laid especially

for them &
their kind.

I thought it odd
that

they walked instead
of flew

as if they were acting
the human.

They both
deep in conversation

about bird
current affairs

or gossip
about those noisy robins.

When they hit the deck
they both stood

in a deck chair
each

continuing what
they had been

conversing
about.

Maybe blackbirds
had taken over

the world
& I

the last human
to know.

Or, all humans
had been changed

into blackbirds.

They suddenly
made loud caw.

I took to the air
& flew.
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