Hey Ulysses! Pt III

Same thought twice?

Naughty thoughts, not nice,

Can it happen thrice?

Three days ago, thoughts on ice.


Onslaught of thought,

Slaughtered thoughts gone wry,

Shifty thoughts say Good-bye

At death’s door.


No longer at war

With thoughts escaping

Mind torn, thoughts raping

No more attempts at thought shaping.


Escaping or eloping?

Married to thought or

Divorced from lost words

Uttering the absurd.


As death’s door opens

Closing a chapter, opening a new

Thoughts erased

No more thoughts misplaced.


Thoughts traveling

Through mind’s cavernous sinew,

Gasping for words like last gasps for air,

Were those thoughts ever even there?


Goodbye, so long,

Please forgive,

The pressure is on now to live,

Cheers to the Living, Go live!

Handcrafted poetry by John Hines

This poem was written while reading James Joyce’s Ulysses this summer (http://wp.me/p4cYuu-cq) and I like to think of it and the other parts of it as my “reading response” to Joyce.  The voluminous, blue-green, formerly banned book of start reading and not finish reputation had called to me off and on from the shelves of my local Barnes & Noble and through references in other reads.

It was Oliver Sacks and his autobiography, On the Move that pushed me to take the final plunge.  Sacks described his experience with Ulysses during a ferry ride from Norway back to England in the early pages of On the Move. Sacks writes: “I had my book to read–I was reading Ulysses, very slowly–and my aquavit to sip: nothing like the taste of alcohol to warm one inside.”  He describes how he became so absorbed in his book that he “failed to note the passage of time.”

I made the plunge and finished Ulysses as the new school year began.  I also read Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man as I took pauses from Ulysses. All three volumes by Joyce join War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov on my expanding list of lifelong rereads.


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