MAD SWEENEY OF IRELAND
by Eric Rosenbloom
Sweeney raged against the church abuilding in his back yard, cracked the poll of the water-shaking bell-jangling cleric, hurled the flesh-daubed words into the lake beyond and the murmuring reader himself with his bejewelled book.
And Sweeney at the battle plain then hurled his spear at the white-hung chest of the dew-sprinkling mutterer mediating the forces arrayed.
And Sweeney in his madness flew to the trees and shunned the diminishing humanity below him, rather his flesh ripped by thorns, rather a diet of berries and grass, rather a shivering night in the icy wind at the crown of a tree than bear the cloistered chanting of fantastic mercy, rather the shrieks of birds and bugs and the howling of beasts, rather the poetry of storm-whipped woods than the tedious readings of song-mocking fear.
Sweeney escaped to the hard artistry of nature, of bird song, of leaf growth, of gravity, of waters cold. He is a lesson of madness, a warning, the saint of poetry.