SURVIVAL OF THE WITLESS, day 11 of A Month with Yeats


It’s day 11 of Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats. Today’s quote is from ‘The Harp of Aengus’ by W.B. Yeats: ‘Where time is drowned in odour-laden winds and Druid moons, and murmuring of boughs,’

Jane’s blog link is:

This morning I was watching Planet Earth, and so followed the poem.

My poem today is called: SURVIVAL OF THE WITLESS


And swept is the land

over the Okavango,

water washing once more

over earth that was once arid,

Impala in movement;

hind legs on the hop

dogs on their tales

in packs panting

along their ranks

as the hunt for hunger

breaks through bushes

newly beating, boughs

bending over fresh bones

licked bare after yesterday’s scare,

nature’s race is a rough one

from the sun’s rise

till she is toppled

by the moon’s eyes,

watching, observing the order

of hurt and hunger;

who is the bravest,

who can last the longest,

who can seek out the scent

of something stirring

on the curling wind of the Kalahari,

who can catch the perfume

of prey prancing, dancing

through the ignorance

of what lies in wait

on the sacred sands

once devastated, now saturated.

And swept is the land

as time turns to toil

over ancient soil,

its reckless routine returning

like the water returns, like the

rivers refill, like the impala prance

and the dogs devour their dance.

And so swept is the land

and turned is time

but the moon’s eye

will tell in turn

of the beasts, like you and I,

who walked on two paws

and shot each other

with pistols in the other,

survival of the fittest

now lost in the hands of the witless.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Published by deuxiemepeau

Published poet, writer, baker and former fashion maker, with footprints in Paris, London and Amsterdam but currently back home in Dublin with sights aimed at leaving a mark on the West coast one clear fine day...

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