My poetry heroes John Dryden, Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift all died a while ago. The last of them to depart this often unpleasant, but always amusing planet of ours, the venerable Mr Swift, expired on 19 October 1745. It was, funnily enough, a Tuesday. A friend of mine says that my poetry has three recurring motifs: Tuesday afternoons, bare backsides and mildew. On occasion all three have been known to feature in combination. Ask a nearby psychotherapist to make of that what she will. During the final decade or so of Swifts life, as one biographer puts it, insanity overcame him. The bulk of his fortune, which according to Wikipedia amounted to 12,000, was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St. Patricks Hospital for Imbeciles. A couple of hundred years later, when its title had in a fit of political correctness one mad been softened to simply St. Patricks Hospital, my late grandmother was a regular and always enthusiastic guest there.
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