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The Curse -- J M Synge

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.
-- 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

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.


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