What springs to mind when you think of St.Patrick’s Day – Shamrocks? Leprechauns? A green Liffey?
We wanted to show you that there is more to Ireland than that…
Can a walk on the beach change everything?
In James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, Sandymount strand in Dublin is the scene for what many think to be the birth of post-modernist writing. When the character Stephen Dedalus finds himself in need of some “beach-time”, Joyce switches into a stream of consciousness narrative.
“Under its leaf he watched through peacocktwittering lashes the southing sun. I am caught in this burning scene. Pan’s hour, the faunal noon. Among gumheavy serpentplants, milkoozing fruits, where on the tawny waters leaves lie wide. Pain is far.”
The writing is as rich as it is absurd, but is wonderfully evocative. His own angst is not only bound to what he sees around him, but reflected in it. He asks himself:
“Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand?”
He goes on to describe that fitfully changing sea, moving as fast as it’s description:
“In long lassoes from the Cock lake the water flowed full, covering greengoldenly lagoons of sand, rising, flowing. My ashplant will float away. I shall wait. No, they will pass on, passing chafing against the low rocks, swirling, passing. Better get this job over quick. Listen: a fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos. Vehement breath of waters amid seasnakes, rearing horses, rocks. In cups of rocks it slops: flop, slop, slap: bounded in barrels. And, spent, its speech ceases. It flows purling, widely flowing, floating foampool, flower unfurling.”
It is impossible to write about Joyce with his words making yours seem trivial. We’ve added a few of Joyce’s words to the fantastic video made by artist Fergal Brennan who captured the passing of the light on the same Sandymount Strand so beautifully. We hope it gives you a flavour of the creativity still bursting out of our small island, allowing you to see past the leprechauns and shamrocks this St. Patrick’s day.
It’s always good to look a little further, as Joyce said….
“Why not endless till the farthest star? Darkly they are there behind this light, darkness shining in the brightness, delta of Cassiopeia, worlds.”
Happy St.Patrick’s Day from all at Maglus Stylus.