Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bloomsday

June 16 is Bloomsday - a commemoration and celebration of the life of author James Joyce. The novel Ulysses is set entirely on the day of June 16, 1904. In Dublin and in US cities, Bloomsday is observed by readings of the novel, visiting the settings of its scene, and even dressing up like Joyce's characters.

Like most people, I've tried to read Ulysses and failed. It's dense going. But if you want to try, you can read it online at the Gutenberg Project. Here's a Wikipedia page that gives a synopsis.

And for a mid-day Sunday, here's Leopold Bloom in a pub, having his lunch and daydreaming:

—Have you a cheese sandwich?
—Yes, sir.
Like a few olives too if they had them. Italian I prefer. Good glass of burgundy take away that. Lubricate. A nice salad, cool as a cucumber, Tom Kernan can dress. Puts gusto into it. Pure olive oil. Milly served me that cutlet with a sprig of parsley. Take one Spanish onion. God made food, the devil the cooks. Devilled crab.
—Wife well?
—Quite well, thanks... A cheese sandwich, then. Gorgonzola, have you?
—Yes, sir.
 ...
Wine.
He smellsipped the cordial juice and, bidding his throat strongly to speed it, set his wineglass delicately down...

Mr Bloom ate his strips of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate. Not logwood that. Tastes fuller this weather with the chill off....

Glowing wine on his palate lingered swallowed. Crushing in the winepress grapes of Burgundy. Sun's heat it is. Seems to a secret touch telling me memory. Touched his sense moistened remembered. Hidden under wild ferns on Howth below us bay sleeping: sky. No sound. The sky. The bay purple by the Lion's head. Green by Drumleck. Yellowgreen towards Sutton. Fields of undersea, the lines faint brown in grass, buried cities. Pillowed on my coat she had her hair, earwigs in the heather scrub my hand under her nape, you'll toss me all.O wonder! Coolsoft with ointments her hand touched me, caressed: her eyes upon me did not turn away. Ravished over her I lay, full lips full open, kissed her mouth. Yum. Softly she gave me in my mouth the seedcake warm and chewed. Mawkish pulp her mouth had mumbled sweetsour of her spittle. Joy: I ate it: joy. Young life, her lips that gave me pouting. Soft warm sticky gumjelly lips. Flowers her eyes were, take me, willing eyes. Pebbles fell. She lay still. A goat. No-one. High on Ben Howth rhododendrons a nannygoat walking surefooted, dropping currants. Screened under ferns she laughed warmfolded. Wildly I lay on her, kissed her: eyes, her lips, her stretched neck beating, woman's breasts full in her blouse of nun's veiling, fat nipples upright. Hot I tongued her. She kissed me. I was kissed. All yielding she tossed my hair. Kissed, she kissed me.

My! What a powerful spur to memory, just gorgonzola cheese and burgundy wine!

Here in Los Angeles, you can celebrate Bloomsday at the UCLA Hammer Museum. Enjoy your Bloomsday!

6 comments:

Carolyn Watson said...

Aunt Snow! I didn't realize you had a blog. I like it very much. I'm a Derf from Mrs. G's place, and the name "Aunt Snow" has always conjured up an older, fluffy, white-haired lady. Now I have to adjust the image in my mind. You're none of those things, although your hair does appear light-colored. I'll be back for more!

Carolyn Watson said...

Aunt Snow! I didn't realize you had a blog. I like it very much. I'm a Derf from Mrs. G's place, and the name "Aunt Snow" has always conjured up an older, fluffy, white-haired lady. Now I have to adjust the image in my mind. You're none of those things, although your hair does appear light-colored. I'll be back for more!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Quite a memory indeed! I should be cautious about when and where (and with whom) I consume gorgonzola cheese and burgundy wine!

Of course, living where I do, Bloomsday has an entirely different meaning and date.

Aunt Snow said...

Welcome, Carolyn and stick around!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I celebrated by hitting the pub...

Cheryl said...

Yes! what a marvelous post that makes me want to try and try again, Ulysses.