Images Of Ireland
Extracts from great Irish writers
(If you have a favourite piece from an Irish writer please send it to me.)
James Joyce (1882-1941)
"Portrait of James Joyce" by Sean O'Sullivan (1935)
From The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
A flushed young man came from a gap of a hedge and after him came a young woman with wild nodding daises in her hand. The young man raised his cap abruptly: the young woman abruptly bent and with slow care detached from her light skirt a clinging twig. Father Conmee blessed both gravely and turned a thin page of his breviary. Sin.
....and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said I will yes.
Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of water-glasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on. One said "Go on! You are first, and we shall follow, yours is the right to begin." The other added, "He is young and strong, there are kisses for us all." I lay quiet, looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl was on her knees and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed about to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer - nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching, pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited - waited with beating heart.
Joseph Tomelty 1911- :)
"All Souls Night"
Two sins I remember. One was Kathleen on the clover patch of the fort of Tara. Weary of the warm harvest we lay together. Communion bread I ate from the vestry but they were unblessed. Twas hunger forced me. Fresh are the two sins for God to know.
Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)
The train was over half an hour behind it's time and the traveller complained to the guard of the train, and the guard spoke to him bitterly. He said "You must have a very narrow heart that wouldn't go down to the town and stand your friends a few drinks instead of bothering me to get away.
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Revised: March 03, 2004.