Fairground Ponies: A poem by Dermot Bolger

The author marks the 150th birthday of the legendary painter Jack B Yeats with a poem specially commissioned for the occasion

Jack B Yeats, Ireland’s greatest 20th-century painter, is celebrated today on his 150th birthday. Picture: Getty

Fairground Ponies is published to mark the 150th birthday of Ireland’s greatest 20th-century painter, Jack B Yeats, who was born on August 29, 1871 and spent much of his childhood in Sligo. In later life, he ceased being a factual illustrator, but chronicled the human heart, initially baffling his small audience with monumental works painted in a state he described as “half memory”: the original landscapes distorted with vibrant, emotional colour.

In conservative Dublin, he ...