Saturday, July 4, 2009

"Fires in the houses of poor people" (Fuller, Joyce, King)

This is one of those passages from Ulysses that makes me wish James Joyce had had the patience, or the relative lack of ambition, to write more realistic novels before he took to reinventing the form of the novel and then the structure of the English language itself.

This paragraph, broke up into lyrics, evokes to me very early 10,000 Maniacs. I think it wants to be a wistful retro folk rock song.

"Fires in the houses of poor people"

Moored under the trees of Charleville Mall
Father Conmee saw a turfbarge,
a towhorse with pendent head,
a bargeman with a hat of dirty straw
seated amidships, smoking and
staring at a branch of poplar above him.

It was idyllic:

and Father Conmee reflected
on the providence of the Creator
who had made turf to be in bogs
where men might dig it out and
bring it to town and hamlet to make
fires in the houses of poor people.
There will be a lot of options, when we get out guitars, for what to do with that interstitial phrase, "It was idyllic:"; and though we could be accused of overdoing the outro gambit, the temptation will be strong to repeat that last line I have chosen for the title a number of times, with the dynamic of an outro.

More in this series

"Christfox in leather trews" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"All future plunges to the past" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"She was humming" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"Silly billies:" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"Happy Happy" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"A sugarsticky girl" (Joyce, King, A Better Guitar Player Than Me)
"Everybody eating everyone else" (Joyce, King, You)
"Blood not mine" (Joyce, King, Your Name Here)
"Sell your soul for that" (Joyce, King, Your Name Here)
"Over the motley slush" (Joyce, King, Whoever Helps Me)
"My childhood bends" (Joyce, King)"
"Don't you play the giddy ox with me!" (Joyce, King)


Picture of a turf fire from somebody's Flickr.


Anonymous said...

The photo is from my flickr.

Poetry Scores said...

Thanks it is a beauty!