Mobilis in Mobili by Damien Donnelly

the monster-
metal made, making movements 
under waves.
Air trembles. Earth rocks. 
The sea is a desert.
Immense. Without Master.
But with mineral, vegetable, animal.
Man can be the beast on land- despots, destroyers.
Land and Mr. Land who can’t swallow water.
Down below, beneath the glass.
Glass is breakable, like man, but can be of service
like Conseil- glass is capable of offering resistance.
Considerable. And He comes to resist.
Resist man and land and service.
But he takes the Other down, leagues below the darkness
to where there’s light, to admire this liquid light
through which they sail,
his electric thread of connection,
there, in that place which is far off
and exceedingly deep, away from those despots,
his own aquatic flock below the wave,
his own folly to float through the fathoms.
Fathoms. One comes to fathom who can find it out,
how man can flee, can float on his own hope,
his own pride, his own position. Opposition.
Defence. Defender. Here below,
where there are no masters.
But one. And it isn’t always 
the sea.

the sea is everything.
The globe began with the sea 
and may end that way too.
He is the Sea and must defend himself.
And Man? The sea is an immense desert
where man is never lonely. Though man is on his own.
Not being Mineral. Or Vegetable.
Or always animal.

Darkness is deceiving,
regardless of its liquid light.
Behold the maelstrom! The Nautilus is no narwhal.
A can of unquestionable character can also be a coffin.
Man can make his own. His own house.
His own home. His own tomb. To float. In the water.
Through the light. Leagues below the sunlight.
Where light is electric, that fine thread. 
Finely Snapped.
I recognise no masters here
he said. I am free, here, he said. 
God Almighty!
And the Other blinked, for a moment
and took hold of Land and his Conseil.
And then looked back 
to behold the monster.
Some are drawn to the deep, 
to the current, to the curiosity 
of the perpendicularity, to the leagues 
of light at the far end of the black water,
where there are no other men
murdering to be masters.
Behold. Enough

(after Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne)

Damien Donnelly

Damien, returned to Ireland after 23 years in Paris, London and Amsterdam, writes about identity and fragility. His interests revolve around falling over and learning how to get back up. He’s been featured in multiple online and print magazines.
His debut poetry collection arrives this year from The Hedgehog Press.

Twitter: @deuxiemepeau