Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

First prize Poetry Competition.

Under Construction by Roger Cummiskey.

Roger with Seamus Heaney at the Bank of Ireland Arts centre Dublin

I include below a compilation that I made of the musical and poetic language from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.


A Painting of a Young Poet:

Bury me in the old church-yard
The bell! The bell! Farewell! Farewell!

O, we got a good breath of ozone round the Head today
A thimbleful, just to whet your appetite, they say.
In the silence, pick, pack, pock, puck.

Blackrock, Stillorgan, Goatstown, Dundrum and Sandyford
Carrickmines, Stradbrook, no more battles on the rocks.

They would meet quietly as if they had known each other
And made their tryst in some more secret place.
He would fade into something impalpable
Under her eyes and then in a moment he would be transfigured.

Christian brothers be damned
Newman and Byron
The telegraphpoles held the galloping notes
Of music between the punctual bars.
The sunlight breaking suddenly on his sight
Turned the sky and clouds into a fantastic world
Of sombre masses with lakelike spaces of dark rosy light.
He wanted to sin with another of his kind
A cry for an iniquitous abandonment.
In the silence their dark fire kindled the dusk
Into a tawny glow.

What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world
If he suffer the loss of his immortal soul?
His soul was fattening and congealing into a gross grease
Grazing out of darkened eyes, helpless, perturbed and human
For a bovine god to stare upon.

It would rain forever, noiselessly
All life would be choked off, noiselessly.
Noiselessly floating corpses amid the litter of the wreckage of the world.
Lucifer, non serviam: I will not serve.
Time is, time was, but time shall be no more!
The greatest torment, poena damni, the pain of loss.
Ever, never; ever, never.

The Reverend Stephen Dedalus, S.J.
His destiny was to be elusive of social and religious orders.
Destined to learn his own wisdom apart from others
To learn the wisdom of others wandering among the snares of the world.

A day of dappled seaborne clouds.
Words, was it their colours?
No, the poise and balance of the period itself.
Stephaneforos. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create
A living thing, new and soaring and beautiful,
Impalpable, imperishable.
He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted
The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence,
Low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep;
Hither and thither, hither and thither;
A faint flame trembled on her cheek.

I hope I am not detaining you
A flaming bloody sugar.
This race and this country and this life
Produced me. I shall express myself as I am.
Yellow insolence.
Art is the human disposition of sensible or
Intelligible matter for an esthetic end.
A soft liquid joy, the soft space of silent spaces
Of oceanic silence, of swallows flying through
The seadusk over the flowing waters.

The stout student who stood below farted briefly.
Did an angel speak?
I’m a ballocks.
I am and I know I am And I admit that I am.

Darkness falls from the air
Brightness falls from the air.
I will not serve
My defense
Silence, exile and cunning.

I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience. 


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