My grandfather was a wonderful man. James Flynn—more commonly known as Jim—was a true multi-hyphenate. Having sat the Leaving Certificate exams twice to double his scholarships, he went on to study civil engineering and somewhere along the line, became the engineer-photographer-poet that I knew.

On family holidays he would take idyllic pictures of Irish scenery, with my mum and her brothers and sister often featuring. He would then use the proceeds from these prize-winning photos to pay for the next holiday, and so went the cycle.

The following is his response to The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1888) by William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). It was likely written between 1980 & 1985 but was most likely never published (so a special thanks to my Godfather, Ronan Flynn, for first bringing the creation to my attention, and more recently for deciphering and transcribing this from the original handwritten draft). In fact, and unfortunately, we can say with great confidence it was not published.

You see, Jim had this lovely copy of “The Hunting of the Snark” 1 by Lewis Carroll. It is now heavily annotated on my bookshelf, filled with numerous comments on metre and a solid few critiques of where Carroll could have done better. Of course Jim was working on his own long comic story in verse, in a somewhat similar style. He sent it to just one publisher. The reply slip thanked him for the manuscript but stated that the publisher had died. My mother says he could have done with an agent.

1 A must read for fans of Douglas Adams, who may also enjoy my Words that do not Exist but Should.

The Secretary,
Sligo County Council,
Council Offices

Mr W. B. Yeats,
Co. Sligo

Re: Proposal to erect clay & wattle cabin at Innisfree

Dear Sir,

Regarding the proposals outlined in your communication of the 4th inst., I am directed to draw your attention to the following deficiencies in your specification:

I have no comment to make on the remainder of your specification, which appears to be somewhat superfluous, but your remarks regarding standing “on the roadway or the pavements grey” have been referred to the County Engineer. He generally advises the better alternative wherever a pavement (grey or otherwise) is available.

Yours etc.,