“Shock Absorber” and other poems by Anne Donnellan


I am tired of you being you
tired of the slit-eye side scan
tired of the frivolous flip of your bone,
tired of your toy dog dead head bob.

If I dare to step on your shadow
you gobble my frame with vacant glare
torch my aura with ethanol
as I utter a word you suck your teeth,
shrivel me to a tick.

Moontime, I dream you are a thread
severed from my web
knotted in nothingness
choked in your own foam
long leather tongue
cracked with lesions

Mornings I recoil
snared in seamless servility
too tired to rebel, I yield.

Published Ropes NUIG Literary Journal 2019


The County Show

Days before the show –August fifteenth–
you gathered your gifted greens
in the cool of our bicycle shed
scaffolds selected for delicate dressing.

Apples grafted from pears
your secret craft of trapping sweetness,
straw strewn beneath trees
softened the fall of ‘Lady Sudeleys’
‘Beauty of Baths’, and ‘Golden Delicious’
poised on enamel blue-rimmed dishes.

Our insides tingled with longing
not for the radishes in wooden punnets,
hairy marrows, cauliflower, and bleeding beets.
Foods that we would never dare to eat!
Not for the onion sets, shallots, and swedes,
seed potatoes, round and kidney-shaped,
but all for the festival spell of Show Day.

Clad in our Sunday very best
we feasted on candy cotton and sugar pink sticks,
rode carnival chair o’ planes to the sky tip
met the whole of locality and prided
that again, Dad,
you took glory in every category.

(published Clare Champion 2019)


Shock Absorber

To be calm is brutal,
when chaos annex the heart.
and drones of doom
stuff the head.

I doze in a bone-coloured bubble,
suspended on the brim of trouble.
tumble and rise like a drunken vagrant
stunned in my store of remorse.

I wake with thistles in my throat,
pinched lids sting from fret
froth sizzles in my innards
neck nape drizzles with sweat.

All this veiled strain,
like an oil slick on a swan’s plumage,
I need rescue to contain pain,
absorb the shock of this damage



Those who knew
what lies she lugged
to morning mass
lauded her resolve.

Through a decade of nuptial rupture
she prayed in a stained glass
pool of innocent light
solid as a glacier.

Deceit defied absence,
captured her face
clad in blessed blue.
She did daily devotion,
paraded centre aisle,
sacred host exposed,
at the shrine of the holy family.

One Easter Sunday
he waltzed back
and sat beside her
in the pew beneath the resurrection.


Driving To The Dementia Convention

Driving to the dementia convention
May morning in Connemara
cotton wool clouds compete
with sunshine sprinkles
I embrace the optic banquet
of roadside mixed greens
copses crawling with shimmer
ivy and holly leaves glazed
porridge white hawthorn flower
dressing the hedgerows
lusciousness luring me
deeper into trance
of the majestic mountain way
wrapped in awe
I spot tall yellow irises
signpost of the marshes
changing blue forget-me-nots
splashed on hillsides
colonising clusters of mauve
brilliant five-lobed bellflowers
suck toxic layers,
space invading.

Destination reached,
I peel myself from the scene
to hear your pleas,
locked in mind marshes
thought-streams swamped.

Don’t shut me out,
find my roots
feel my loss.
I am alive,

(published Clare Champion 2018)

© Anne Donnellan

Anne Donnellan was brought up outside Ennis and has been living and working in Galway since 1980. She attends the Kevin Higgins poetry workshops. Anne has been published in the NUIG ROPES Literary Journal, A New Ulster, The Linnet’s Wings, The Bangor Literary Journal, Clare Champion, and the Galway City Tribune. She was a featured reader at the March “Over The Edge: Open Reading” in Galway City Library.

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