we tend to

why do we?

how can we?

crimes committed

yet unthinkable

then now here there




strangers in our souls

like bats in dead trees


I had been trying to put some words to humankind’s ongoing legacy of unspeakable crime when I came across Jane Dougherty’s William B. Yeats quote prompt:

‘…the dark folk who live in souls

Of passionate men, like bats in the dead trees.’

(from ‘To some I have talked with by the fire’)

 (Bats are quite at home living in crevices under the bark of dead trees.)

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on January 27, an international day for remembrance of the largest genocide in recent human history in which 6 million Jews  and millions more were murdered– sadly not the first nor the last genocide or binge of crimes against humanity. I hope we never forget and that we tirelessly uproot all causes of such cruelty.

©2017 Ontheland

6 thoughts on “disowned

    1. Thanks Jane. Yes bats are quite beneficial critters to have around. I find the lines from Yeats to be quite interesting… my feeling is that he plays on the dark spooky aspect of bats and the ‘dark folk’ in our souls which we tend to disown but are actually at home like the bats in their trees. I also suspect there may be more to his metaphor for someone more familiar with his cultural, religious world…


      1. Yeats was well clued up on mystical symbolism, but I’m not sure how much of a naturalist he was. Probably not much. I don’t think bats play much of a part in Irish mythology, so I suspect you’re right, that in this poem, he was using only the superficial misunderstandings about bats.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was suggesting he knew that bats set up house under the bark of dead trees (I actually didn’t know that until I looked it up as I was curious why he said ‘dead’ trees)…


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