Sunday, June 28, 2009

"She was humming" (Fuller, Joyce, King)

Here is another bit from James Joyce's Ulysses - one paragraph in the novel - that I think bodes well for a rock song. In this case, probably a ballad, almost certainly with some humming.
"She was humming"

Wait. The full moon was the night
we were Sunday fortnight exactly
there is a new moon.

Walking down by the Tolka.
Not bad for a Fairview moon.

She was humming:
The young May moon
she's beaming, love.

He other side of her.
Elbow, arm. He.

Glowworm's la-amp
is gleaming, love.

Touch. Fingers.
Asking. Answer. Yes.

No wonder this sounds so musical. As scholar Zach R. Bowen has noted, Bloom is remembering a charged moment when Blazes Boylan was flirting with Bloom's own wife Molly, a singer, while Molly was humming the song "The Young May Moon," which is misquoted here.

The temptation to quote from the melody of that song in our piece will be strong, probably irresistable. The river Tolka mentioned here also (perhaps inevitably) has its own polka, the "Tolka Polka," which could and should be quoted musically.

I also hear an opportunity for our own intertextuality here.

In our third completed poetry score, Go South for Animal Index (2007), Matt Fuller and I took one line of Stefene Russell's poem - "the old moon sleeps in the new moon's arms" - and scored it as a sleepy country ballad, with the exquisite Geoffrey Seitz on violin.


"The old moon sleeps in the new moon's arms"
(Matt, Fuller, Chris King, Stefene Russell)

Three Fried Men, with Geoffrey Seitz
From Go South for Animal Index (Poetry Scores)

More in this series


Tolka River Bridge from Dave Walsh has a Flickr set devoted to the River Tolka.

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