Sunday, June 7, 2009

"My childhood bends" (Joyce, King)

Well, it doesn't seem as if I am going to finish James Joyce's Ulysses by Bloomsday (June 16), since I have nearly 600 pages to go and nine days to get there, and I just don't see myself chowing down 66 pages a day.

Not even on a working vacation, which, for me, is always more working than vacation, especially with execution dates on stay of unknown duration and City jailors being indicted for distributing heroin in the jails and whatnot.

But I soldier forward, here on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, with my chief incentive being the hunt for passages that would be fun to set to rock music. Here is another. It is one complete paragraph of prose in the novel, but I will punctuate it as song lyrics.

like him was I
these sloping shoulders
this gracelessness

my childhood bends beside me

too far for me
to lay a hand there
one or lightly

mine is far and his secret
as our eyes

secrets, silent
stony sit
in the dark palaces
of both our hearts

secrets weary
of their tyranny
tyrants willing'
to be dethroned
This is Stephen Dedalus musing over Cyril Sargent, his student, doing sums.

I would title the song as "My childhood bends," use that phrase as a refrain, and use the "secrets" bit as a bridge. There is even a rhyme to exploit - "weary/tyranny".


Don't you play the giddy ox with me! (Joyce, King)


Image is by Sam Richardson, age six, from Corbridge First School, from Newcastle Biomedicine. "I showed my brain doing maths and English, its got sums and pictures," Sam noted.

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