The Unappeasable Host

Sangbad pointed me in the direction of this prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie to write a haibun inspired by a favourite poem.

This is the poem I have chosen, Yeat’s The Unappeasable Host. It isn’t my favourite, but it’s one I love very much, and it feels almost like sacrilege even using it as inspiration.

THE Danaan children laugh, in cradles of wrought gold,
And clap their hands together, and half close their eyes,
For they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,
With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:
I kiss my wailing child and press it to my breast,
And hear the narrow graves calling my child and me.
Desolate winds that cry over the wandering sea;
Desolate winds that hover in the flaming West;
Desolate winds that beat the doors of Heaven, and beat
The doors of Hell and blow there many a whimpering ghost;
O heart the winds have shaken, the unappeasable host
Is comelier than candles at Mother Mary’s feet.


My haibun

The wind that howls and rattles doors and window frames, the hail that strums wild music on the roof, the clouds that boil in yellow anger in the stormy sky, remind the one who watches of the truth. Beneath the concrete and the glitter-glass, the smooth straight roads and shops that promise pleasures never dreamed, is the cold deep earth where all our past is hid. The old ones and the ones before, the ones who left the earth in peace, one with the stones and the broad-winged birds, the celandine creeping on the bank, they whisper in this rising wind, their stories we must not forget.

And though I hold my children tight, when thunder rocks the house, and lightning dazzles with its pure white fire, I will not hide from them the savage beauty of the night, nor stop their ears against the anger of the storm.


Hold tight the warm hand,

watch in awe your earth shudder,

birthright, blood and bones.









Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “The Unappeasable Host”

    1. I’m glad you liked it, Merril. I realised after I’d chosen a poem, how difficult it is to write another poem inspired by it. It inevitably falls so far short of the original, you wonder why you bothered!

  1. Wonderful haibun Jane. Your choice of Yeats surprised me, just because I am not a fan of Yeats. This poem by Yeats however is a real beauty and the haibun you wrote in response makes me forget the poem by Yeats.

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