Reafforest Spare Earth (‘Ulysses’ pages 313-362)

Photo of a thick forest with lots of trees
by Brian Kimble/Unsplash

Reafforest spare earth—
land is embroidered with broadleaved life.

Pigeon changed to dragons,
rising out pigeonhouse!
Terrifying!

The stormtossed lass whispered strange blue.
Believe in jaspberry voices
pronouncing “Puffpuff.”
Meaning: “Nature, tingling,
sang heartbroken seashore.”

Beauty was green wood wonder.
Molly had dolphin’s secrets
and knew trees:
daughters of seabirds.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Write Something Towards (‘Ulysses’ pages 160-210)

Photo of vintage typewriter on a desk.
by Patrick Fore/Unsplash

Write something towards
bloodypapered stuff.

Smellsipped poison: burgundy nectar.
Smiledyawnednodded, said, “Prrwht!”

Do wines suppose quiet sorrows?
Glittereyed, John is one
possible softcreakfooted writer.

Remember Cordelia?
Paradoxes are husbandwords backward
flying warningfully to stayathome.

Mulligan leftherhis company.
Myriadminded, Venus brings another shakescene,
wooed catastrophe!

There, fingerponder life:
toyable,
play,
strive,
sunnywinking.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Hellohellohello, You Laughing Vermilion Face (‘Ulysses’ pages 109-159)

Photo of a swan on a lake, with fog around.
by Alexander Sinn/Unsplash

Hellohellohello, you laughing vermilion face!
This monkeydoodle house creaking,
practice biscuitfully in the mighthavebeen:
will you catch the prophet
who lost — misled? — your mind?

Tell underdarkneath:
by soultransfiguring,
we lifted into rain.

Renewal heart, Penelope!
Promised, silver woman —
swans told wisdom of rolypoly kids.

Must wishwish mothers have distant sleep?
Dreamy moon.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Curiously Warmbubbled Paper (‘Ulysses’ pages 53-108)

image of bubbles on a marbled background
by Pawel Czerwinski/Unsplash

Here’s the second offering in my found poetry project on Ulysses by James Joyce. I’m picking a word from each page in the book and creating poems from them — about 50 words per poem. The first poem ended on page 50, which ends Part I of the book, then a blank page and a page introduces Part II. That’s why this second poem starts on page 53.

I’m enjoying the word collecting, like picking shells from a beach. Joyce was creative with words, shoving some together without hyphens.


Curiously Warmbubbled Paper (Ulysses, pages 53-108)
by Dave Williams

Curiously warmbubbled paper:
money oozed sweet butter.

Cat peeped curdling smoke,
smiled, mewed quietly in whatyoumay imagine
is in sweeeet Vienna.

Nosebags cooling headache: heaven!
Shiftylooking, glanced discreetly
at the riprippled avenue.
Waltzing eyes.

Milly traveled across,
noiselessly thwarted the redlabelled tomorrow.
Galloping gloomy carriage.

Sad toad’s paradise
must bloom after honeycombed jokes
uncovered the hole.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Bloomsday; ‘Ulysses’ pages 3-50

Happy Bloomsday!

Wait. What is Bloomsday?

“It celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, which is the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters – real and fictional – from 8am on 16 June 1904 through to the early hours of the following morning.” — The James Joyce Centre

Front cover of first edition of "Ulysses"
Cover of first edition (Wikimedia Commons)

Several years ago, I started reading Ulysses, but only made it to page 72 (out of 732). I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the novel.

Now, though, I’m revisiting the book with a project inspired by the idea of found poetry. I will pick a word from each page and assemble them into poems. Each poem will have about 50 words. That word count may change as the project progresses.

Partly, I’m doing this project to experience this book in a different way. Something more active than reading the book and envisioning the characters going about their day. Writing the first poem felt playful and absurd.

Also partly, I’m doing this project to discover some of Joyce’s words. According to Professor Cóilín Owens (Professor Emeritus of English Literature at George Mason University), Ulysses contains “something like 90,000 different words.” Not total words, but individual words. That’s mind-blowing to me. Professor Owens mentioned the tidbit in his presentation at the Great Big Book Club Meeting in Maryland.

What better day than Bloomsday to kick off this project? I’ll be posting a Ulysses poem each day until I reach the end of the book (page 732). I’m using the Dover edition, which claims to be “an unabridged republication of the original Shakespeare and Company edition, published in Paris by Sylvia Beach, 1922.”


Awaking Panther (Ulysses, pages 3-50)
by Dave Williams

Awaking panther!
Snotgreen dogsbody.

Stephen engaging impossible dream—
flung tea,
puzzled dewsilky cups,
tragically answered sea,
“Goodbye, crazy drowned redheaded usurper!”

Corpsestrewn history—
mind’s riddle rattled tyrants of memory.
Prompt Cassandra:
“What?” asked coughball.
“Why?” lamented love.

Bigdrumming libraries marched through,
quaking pretenders shrieked roguewords: “Who?”
Dublin silent.