By J. Isaksen30th of May, 2015
MUSIC & MUSE Well, to tell the truth, it wasn’t me that asked for it … Ulysses himself did: ‘Would you please play me –’ he begged, ‘for heaven’s sake?’ And the wind blew and blew and blue, until a siren answered his prayer: ‘Take my word for it! You have to look it up, though: the last word on the last page of U. will tell’. – Why do fabulous creatures always speak in riddles?
Some instrumental notes on my visit to the James Joyce Tower on 30 May 2015 — about 100 years after good old James pulled (and struck) the strings.
Some find Ulysses a difficult read. Maybe James Joyce meant the whole story to be sung, accompanied by (his) guitar—and not to be bungled by our mumbling inner voice. I, for one, would even go one step further: all writings—lyric and epic poetry alike—should be intoned; like in the olden days, when the bard told the stories by the fireplace, striking up an epic chant. Though in a quite different way, please, shaped by our thinking and doing: um, well … smash the harp and rather plunk the fucking guitar!
Here, on top of the tower I have the strong feeling that a lot of things can’t be properly expressed on dull paper—because they are meant to be sung …
I think the clueless crowd should request an encore: Would you please play Ulysses?
The original guitar as it is on display in the tower, not secured in any way. I believe, if the screaming wind of the sea finds its way into the tower it will start to play the unsung songs of Ulysses … psst, listen!
The beauty has been restored and is waiting to be played on …
… like this — or completely different; reworded, retuned, restringed: The porter puts the big question / Collecting a stiff fee for free admission. (And so on.)
And who looks after this poor little thing? “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”, as Oscar Wilde used to say — and that “Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory”.
And these are the words that I put into the mouth of the siren: