I was going to write about asthma, but then realised that someone’s been there already and he can’t be beat.
For me, the poet of asthma is not Proust, it is not even Fedinand Mount.
It’s Bruce Robinson, in the introduction to the screenplay for the film he his famous for writing and directing:
Asthma struck in the middle of the night outside a little tin-roofed town called Macksville. A dash to the rusting hospital where they shoved me on a device to measure my air intake. The average breather hits around four hundred. I was coming up fourty-eight. Apparently a prospective corpse can produce about twenty-five with the fucking death rattle. Oxygen on and in go the needles, the latter featuring pure pharmaceutical adrenalin. Suddenly one’s heart is converted into a small diesel engine that could get a motorbike up a street at about fifty.
So there you are, the author of Withnail and I is the asthma poet. But not the ‘tomato poet’ which is the way to remember how to spell ‘onomatopoeia’.