Poetry of Existence

Less is More



Each flower bends

Before his tender heart.

The smallest bud


Notes the shadow

His long gait



Across their blooming.

Only by his own ways

Is he their kin.


For the world is not

A place for gentle men.



May 21, 2017

Dear Ardi


Dear Ardi

forgive me

for being so familiar

not addressing you

properly with your full name

Ardipithecus Ramidus

but I recently


to my elation

we’re related,


though distantly

by 4.4 million years

I feel the urge

to thank you for


taking the leap

bestowing history

on the ground


walking upright.



in the Afar desert

of Ethiopia

woodlands in your time

lying crushed

in your fossil bed

snuggling against

snake and scorpion

your frame under

hyena footprints

defying flashfloods

and dust tornadoes

you slept


only two palm bones


to welcome science.


Dear Ardi,

you enter my world

in tiny fragments:

your skull

wherein you figured

how to go from tree

to ground

your teeth

once chewing

tasty critters

your hands

bending backward

at the wrist

to hold up a newborn

for all the knuckle-walkers

to envy.

Your arms, legs and feet

125 brittle bones

encased in silty clay :

once actors for life

for survival.


How keen you were

to choose a hands-free

walking man

for life on the ground!

You taught him

to be social


caring for the wee Ardis

he dared not boss you around

as you dropped to the ground

to shop for hackberries

plants and eggs.


In your nest of branches and leaves

escaping creeps

you counted on

your opposable big toe

to grasp branches

pluck fruit

grab sleep

to win another day.


Did your forebears

tell you stories of Toumai

or the tale of the

Millennium Man?

Did they transfer

the secret of

balancing on two feet?

Did Kadabba

whisper what was to come?

What prompted you

to fashion a new posture

and fancy a gait

through the fig trees

alongside surprised monkeys

antelopes and peafowl ?


Homo Sapiens

smart alecks

predators of our own kind

call you hominid.

At four feet and muscular

weighing in at 110 pounds

with hips and thighs

to kill for

negotiating an original

style of motion

You, my sister, I name

The Woman of Middle Awash,

neither chimp nor gorilla


every woman


darling ancestor of mine.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

February 23, 2010