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‘The Cure of Folly’ by Hieronymous Bosch, circa 1490


Here is a cure for madness. The patient,

stupid with pain, credulity or

the random gaze of the mad, the distraught, looks

in our direction. He is being trepanned.

The surgeon, having pierced the shaved skull,

looks modestly away. A monk with a jug

of wine or of water and a nun

with a closed book gesture to the consultant

as if to say, “Thus perish all follies”.

A white horse gallops through an orchard. Sheep graze.

A distant gallows is occupied.

Where the landscape ends in blue hills, steeples

rise in an empty sky.



Note: The poem was originally published on the site in December 2011 –





© Copyright David Selzer

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