Dónall Dempsey

Donall Dempsey

Dónall Dempsey was born in the Curragh of Kildare, Ireland, and was Ireland’s first Poet in Residence in a secondary school. He has read on Irish radio and appeared in TV programmes where he was called the ‘Soldier Poet’ because he was a young volunteer in the Irish Defence Force – known to his fellow army recruits as “Shakespeare” after he held them spellbound with tales from the plays of the Bard of Avon!

Dónall moved to London in the 1980’s and completed his university degree there. He continued to be a prolific poet and became well known on the London poetry scene for his poems, particularly those on the themes of love, death and the innocence of children’s vision of the world. His poems were inspired by his work as a care-worker for the elderly and mentally infirm, his experiences as a London school-teacher, and as a loving father.

In August 2011 Dónall was invited to perform and read his poetry in Edinburgh, Scotland, and in 2012 he was featured at the St Clementin Bilingual Bilateral Festival in France (August 2012). He featured at the Fermoy International Festival, County Cork, Ireland, in September 2013 and at the New Delhi Poetry Festival in January 2014.

Dónall’s poetry has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies and journals, both online and in print. Recently his work has been used by the Overlook Academy to make teaching videos. In 2012-13 he published two collections of his poems: “Sifting Sound into Shape” and “Being Dragged Across the Carpet by the Cat”. His most recent collection, “The Smell of Purple” was launched at the 2014 Delhi Poetry Festival in New Delhi where he was invited to feature.

Donall hosts a very successful monthly performance poetry night in Guildford, Surrey, UK, where he now lives. He is well known as an inspiring and prolific poet and teacher of poetry.


(for Paolo Sandulli)

The sun is
preaching her sermon

to the town
of Praiano

that clings to the cliffs
in wonder.

Here in her hand
of light & water

she tells the parables
of pebbles.

One wave waves to another
as she walks upon the water.

Bells undress Time
disrobe her of her hours.

Lemons grow
big-bellied on branches

with yellow.

The juice
of the Future

praying in a church
of trees.

Here, a congregation
of butterflies & bees.

Grapes dream of being
turned into wine.

Figs ripen
with pleasure.

The gods of pagan times

disguised as statues.

I only believing
in the religion of

a woman’s

And even now
as darkness

upon the rose

it’s as if
the sunlight never leaves

only changes

and the sunlight darkens
only to blossom

into the next morning
in love with Time.

This was written for the Italian artist/ceramic sculptor Paolo Sandulli who has a studio in an old Saracen tower overlooking Praiano called Torre a Mare. His work and his workplace are magical and deliciously fantastic making the mind smile and the soul laugh as he creates a NUOVE MITOLOGIE MEDITERRANEE with his love of place and people. Delightful and enthralling.

Check out Paolo’s creations at: www.paolosandulli.com

Poetry in this post: © Dónall Dempsey
Published with the permission of Dónall Dempsey