Sunday, December 19, 2010

"The sailors playing all birds fly"

And yet one more scrap of Molly Bloom's monologue from James Joyce's Ulysses that wants to be a song.

"The sailors playing all birds fly"

he asked me to say yes
and I wouldn't answer first
only looked out over the sea and the sky

I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of
Mr Stanhope and Hester
and father and old Captain Groves
the sailors playing all birds fly

and I say stoop and washing up dishes
they called it on the pier
and the sentry in front of the governors house
with the thing round his white helmet

poor devil half roasted
and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls
and their tall combs
and the auctions in the morning

the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs
and the devil knows who else
from all the ends of Europe and Duke street
and the fowl market all clucking outside

Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping
half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks
asleep in the shade on the steps
and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls

and the old castle
thousands of years old

I hear this as a story song, bit of Pogues perhaps, with the verse from which I chose the title recycled as a chorus from time to time.

Well, this is the last scrap of the great novel I set aside for poetry-scoring when I finally finished reading the damn thing last year. I now have a catalogue of 27 songs-to-be -- with one of them already in the can.

If you are a songwriter and want to play along, then get to clicking below, pick your poem, and email brodog [@] to talk shop.


The complete "Songs from Ulysses" series

"The sailors playing all birds fly"
"And the sun shines for you today"
"Half the ships of the world"
"He rests"
"Less reprehensible"
"Restless. Solitary."
"I'm tired of all them rocks in the sea"

Pretty pretty petticoats"
"Music without Words, pray for us"

"SIGNOR MAFFEI: (With a sinister smile)"

"Sad music"

"Monkey puzzle"

"What kind of a present to give"

"Fires in the houses of poor people"

"Christfox in leather trews"

"All future plunges to the past"

"She was humming"

"Silly billies:"

"Happy Happy"

"A sugarsticky girl"

"Everybody eating everyone else"

"Blood not mine"

"Sell your soul for that"

"Over the motley slush"

"My childhood bends"

"Don't you play the giddy ox with me!"


Image from sunnybuick's Flickr.

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