Monday, June 16, 2008

Bloomsday and other oddities

(1) Today, June 16, is Bloomsday, a day celebrated around the world by admirers of author James Joyce. The events in his novel Ulysses take place on a single day, June 16, 1904, and the novel’s chief character is a man named Leopold Bloom; hence, the name Bloomsday and the date June 16. I have just told you absolutely nothing about either James Joyce or Ulysses or, for that matter, Bloomsday; if you want to know more, you will have to find out on your own. I don’t want it said that I influenced people in a negative way.

(2) I once wrote a poem called “Glossolalia, or The Gift of Tongues” after the manner of Joyce, sort of, although I didn’t realize at the time that that’s what I was doing. Here it is:


Glossolalia, or The Gift of Tongues

Not like a finely crafted poem of old
with much attention paid to rhythm and rhyme,
precision sought within a rigid frame,
and fourteen lines to do the will of God;
No.

More like an explosion of heat that whooshes into the room
so quickly that it takes your breath away,
shattering the cold silence of December,
a sudden Presence where none was before;
Yes.

More like a young girl bursting into the house
with news of great importance, unexpected and unplanned,
but completely welcome,
Yes
because she is
Yes Yes

Alive.


I wish I knew how this blamed blog thing works; the 5th, 10th, 14th, and 16th lines of my poem (“No” and “Yes” and the other “Yes” and “Yes Yes”) are supposed to be indented, but I can’t figure out how to make it happen.

(3) The strangest sentence I have read today, or lately, or maybe anywhere in my liftime, is found in next Sunday’s online edition of The Writer’s Almanac in a thumbnail sketch about the German author Erich Maria Remarque who wrote All Quiet On the Western Front. How I know what’s going to be in next Sunday’s online edition of The Writer’s Almanac is, as they say, a mystery (and just who are they, anyway?). I present it here for your perusal, consideration, amusement, and consternation:

“He worked as a test-car driver, a gravestone salesman, an organist in an insane asylum, and eventually got a job writing for an athletics magazine.”

(4) I think I missed my calling. I would have made a great organist in an insane asylum.

(5) Don’t mind me today. I’m always this way before I have my morning coffee. But I think I’m being adversely affected by the approach of the summer solstice. (If gamma rays can have an effect on man-in-the-moon marigolds, why shouldn’t the approach of the summer solstice have an effect on me? Plus it takes a little while for me to recover from a week in Alabama.)

1 comment:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I think you were influenced by Joyce another way today--you treated us to a stream-of-consciousness post!

Happy Bloomsday. (I really should read that book sometime.)