The Guardian’s Saturday Review section has been carrying a series of fascinating pieces over the past weeks – the introductions from the Faber Poet to Poet series. A few weeks ago it was Seamus Heaney on the great English poet, “an indispensable figure in the evolution of modern writing, a finder and keeper of the self-as-subject”, William Wordsworth, accompanied by The Tables Turned, while today it’s the turn of Derek Mahon on the Dean himself, Jonathan Swift, included is the short poem, A Description of the Morning by SwiftDerek Mahon has this to say on the legacy of Swift –
His gift to Irish writers (to speak only of Ireland) has been immense. With him the principal themes are in place: “race” and religion, cabin and Big House, famine and genocide, internal exile, sexual inhibition, the language question, and a complicated attitude towards the imperial neighbour. Representations of the body in Joyce and Beckett owe much to him, as does the “savage indignation” of Yeats and Kavanagh.