Monday, May 21, 2012

The same room and hour,  the same wisdom:
and I the same.
Three times now. Three nooses round me here.
Well?   I can break them in this instant if I will.
Because you don't save, Mr Deasy said, pointing his finger.
You don't know yet what money is. Money is power. When you have lived as long as I have. I know, I know. If youth but knew. But what does Shakespeare say? Put but money in thy purse.
Iago, Stephen murmured.
He lifted his gaze from the idle shells to the old man's stare.
He knew what money was, Mr Deasy said. He made money. A poet, yes, but an Englishman too. Do you know what is the pride of the English? Do you know what is the proudest word you will ever hear from an Englishman's mouth?
The seas' ruler.
His seacold eyes looked on the empty bay: it seems history is to blame: on me and on my words, unhating.
That on his empire, Stephen said, the sun never sets.
Ba! Mr Deasy cried. That's not English. A French Celt said that. He tapped his savingsbox against his thumbnail.
I will tell you, he said solemnly, what is his proudest boast.
I paid my way.
I paid my way.        I never borrowed a shilling in my life.
Can you feel that? I owe nothing. Can you?
For the moment, no, Stephen answered.
Old England is dying. He stepped swiftly off, his eyes coming to blue life as they passed a broad sunbeam. He faced about and back again.
Dying, he said again, if not dead by now.
The harlot's cry from street to street shall weave old England's windingsheet.
His eyes open wide in vision stared sternly across the sunbeam in which he halted.
A merchant, Stephen said, is one who buys cheap and sells dear, jew or gentile, is he not?
They sinned against the light, Mr Deasy said gravely.
And you can see the darkness in their eyes. And that is why they are wanderers on the earth to this day.
On the steps of the Paris stock exchange the goldskinned men quoting prices on their gemmed fingers. Gabble of geese. They swarmed loud, uncouth about the temple, their heads thickplotting under maladroit silk hats.
Not theirs: these clothes, this speech, these gestures. Their full slow eyes belied the words, the gestures eager and unoffending, but knew the rancours massed about them and knew their zeal was vain.
Vain patience to heap and hoard.  Time surely would scatter all.   A hoard heaped by the roadside: plundered and passing on.
Their eyes knew their years of wandering and, patient, knew the dishonours of their flesh.
Who has not? Stephen said.
What do you mean? Mr Deasy asked. He came forward a pace and stood by the table. His underjaw fell sideways open uncertainly.
Is this old wisdom?               He waits to hear from me.
    History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
I foresee, Mr Deasy said, that you will not remain here very long at this work. You were not born to be a teacher,  I think.   Perhaps I am wrong.
A learner rather, Stephen said.  And here what will you learn more?
Mr Deasy shook his head.   Who knows? he said. To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.
On his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung spangles, dancing coins.
Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes.
Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot.
Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane.
But he adds: in bodies.
Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How?
By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy.
Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in?
Diaphane, adiaphane.
If you can put your five fingers through it it is a gate, if not a door.
Shut your eyes and see.

Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever.
I am, a stride at a time.
A very short space of time through very short times of space.
Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o'er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably!
I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do.
My two feet in his boots are at the ends of his legs, nebeneinander.
Sounds solid:  made by the mallet of  Los Demiurgos.

Am I walking into Eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick. Wild sea money. Dominie Deasy kens them a'. Won't you come to Sandymount, Madeline the mare?
Open your eyes now.  I will.
One moment.           Has all vanished since?       If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane.
     Basta!         I will see if I can see.
See now.
There all the time without you:    and ever shall be,  world without end.

Wombed in sin darkness I was too, made not begotten. By them, the man with my voice and my eyes and a ghostwoman with ashes on her breath. They clasped and sundered, did the coupler's will.
From before the ages He willed me and now may not will me away or ever. A lex eterna stays about Him.
Is that then the divine substance wherein Father and Son are consubstantial? Where is poor dear Arius to try conclusions? Warring his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality.
Illstarred heresiarch'  In a Greek watercloset he breathed his last:
With beaded mitre and with crozier, stalled upon his throne,
widower of a widowed see, with upstiffed omophorion,
with clotted hinderparts.
Airs romped round him, nipping and eager airs.
They are coming,  waves.
The whitemaned seahorses, champing,  brightwindbridled, the steeds of Mananaan.
And after?
The Ship, half twelve.    By the way go easy with that money like a good young imbecile.
Yes, I must.
       ulysses  1918

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