Guest poem submitted by Frank O'Shea , who suggests running a a series under the heading 'The Poet Cranky':
(Poem #1519) The Curse
Lord, confound that surly sister, Blight her brow with blotch and blister, Cramp her gullet, lungs and liver In her guts a galling give her. Let her live to earn her dinners In Mountjoy with seedy sinners. Lord, this judgement quickly bring And I'm your servant, J. M. Synge.
Note: Mountjoy is a Dublin prison. The poem was in answer to one of the critics of his Playboy of the Western World. In reply, Synge attacked the critic's sister! It is likely that the poem was never intended for publication, but Yeats got his hands on it and sent it to Lady Gregory and she never lost anything. So it was kept for posterity as a beautiful piece of invective, only partly tongue-in-cheek. Isn't it a pity that we seem to have lost the art of good invective? Now, all people do is use the well-abused F and C words from the Anglo-Saxon or wherever. You already have one of the very best of the cranky poet genre in James Stephens' "translation" of Daithi O'Bruadair's poem "The Glass of Beer" (#185). I put the inverted commas because it is a translation in the sense that Fitzgerald's is a translation of the Rubaiyat, owing more to Stephens than to the originator. Frank.