Happy Bloomsday…

Missed this skit last year in the Onion… Stunned has this funky Google-based Bloomsday walk, which they say means you can replicate the Ulyssian perambulation anytime and in anyplace… though it is in beta… I’ve included one of my favourite passages from the book below… You can use this searchable text, if you feel moved to add your own…

What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier returning to the range, admire?

Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator’s projection: its umplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: Its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including billions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents: gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs, and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.

  • susan

    Thanks, Mick. People who know far more about Joyce and “Ulysses” than I ever will believe Joyce chose June 16, 1904 to immortalise the anniversary of his first momentous date with Galway’s Nora Barnacle, and I believe it.

    When I read “Ulysses” as a student I enjoyed it, thanks to a brilliant but utterly unpretentious professor who spent a lot of time reading aloud to us. By far my favourite passage was and remains Molly Bloom’s soliloquy at the end. I’m sure there must be other women who feel differently, but I’ve never met them — the soaring, swooning sensuality, the lyricism, the humour, the yearning — what’s not to like? Later, when I discovered a biography of Nora Joyce by the English journalist Brenda Maddox, it articulated for me another reason why Molly’s words still resonate down the years:

    “Meeting Nora was indeed the most important day in Joyce’s life. From their first walk to Ringsend, she changed his view of the world and of the driving force behind it. When Joyce made Leopold Bloom recall Molly’s pleading, “Give us a touch, Poldy, God, I’m dying for it,’ he gave his country, and his century, the voice of female desire. It was Nora’s voice.”

    And if that doesn’t do it for you, here are two versions of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy set to music on YouTube; one by Kate Bush and one by Amber. Can’t image what James Joyce would have thought, but I’ve read enough of his letters to know that if they managed to sell a few copies of “Ulysses” off the shelves he’d of been all for it:

    Kate Bush, “The Sensual World”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJc64xncBt4

    Amber, “Yes” (Molly Bloom’s words set to a disco beat with live dance show)

    Happy Bloomsday, one and all.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Nice one susan. Molly’s ‘bit’ can be found here:


  • Briso

    — What time is that? asked Blazes Boylan. Four?


    Lenehan, small eyes ahunger on her humming, bust ahumming, tugged Blazes Boylan’s elbowsleeve.

    — Let’s hear the time, he said.

    The bag of Goulding, Collis, Ward led Bloom by ryebloom flowered tables. Aimless he chose with agitated aim, bald Pat attending, a table near the door. Be near. At four. Has he forgotten? Perhaps a trick. Not come: whet appetite. I couldn’t do. Wait, wait. Pat, waiter, waited.

    Sparkling bronze azure eyed Blazure’s skyblue bow and eyes.

    — Go on, pressed Lenehan. There’s no-one. He never heard.

    — … to Flora’s lips did hie.

    High, a high note, pealed in the treble, clear.

    Bronzedouce, communing with her rose that sank and rose, sought Blazes Boylan’s flower and eyes.

    — Please, please.

    He pleaded over returning phrases of avowal.

    — I could not leave thee…

    — Afterwits, Miss Douce promised coyly.

    — No, now, urged Lenehan. Sonnezlacloche! O do! There’s no-one.

    She looked. Quick. Miss Kenn out of earshot. Sudden bent. Two kindling faces watched her bend.

    Quavering the chords strayed from the air, found it again, lost chord, and lost and found it faltering.

    — Go on! Do! Sonnez!

    Bending, she nipped a peak of skirt above her knee. Delayed. Taunted them still, bending, suspending, with wilful eyes.

    — Sonnez!

    Smack. She let free sudden in rebound her nipped elastic garter smackwarm against her smackable woman’s warmhosed thigh.

    — La cloche! cried gleeful Lenehan. Trained by owner. No sawdust there.

    She smilesmirked supercilious (wept! aren’t men?), but, lightward gliding, mild she smiled on Boylan.

    — You’re the essence of vulgarity, she in gliding said.

    Boyland, eyed, eyed. Tossed to fat lips his chalice, drankoff his tiny chalice, sucking the last fat violet syrupy drops. He spellbound eyes went after her gliding head as it went down the bar by mirrors, gilded arch for ginger ale, hock and claret glasses shimmering, a spiky shell, where it concerted, mirrored, bronze with sunnier bronze.

    Yes, bronze from anearby.

    — … Sweetheart, goodbye!

    — I’m off, said Boylan with impatience.

    He slid his chalice brisk away, grasped his change.

    — Wait a shake, begged Lenehan, drinking quickly. I wanted to tell you. Tom Rochford…

    — Come on to blazes, said Blazes Boylan, going.

    Lenehan gulped to go.

    — Got the horn or what? he said. Wait. I’m coming.