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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

Floating amid water lilies

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My water lilies finally opened last night. You see, I have been working in the garden along with gardener. We have been spending our mornings together, talking about flowers and fiction, making our way through peonies bushes, trimming the trees and trying to make these water lilies grow in the pond.

When they finally did open, they were impossible to resist — these creamy balls of petals floating effortlessly around the mouldy pond. I found out they had opened when I came back from visiting the walls of St. P. I was still in my gown, feeling exhausted and quite weary by what I had seen.

There was nothing much else to do really but to climb in the pond, gently, so as not to cause too great a wave for the delicate lilies, and float there amid the petals. The water was only slightly warm, but bearable to lie in, and I could smell the mould on the wet stone.

There wasn’t much light in the garden, the light in the sky was all that I had. I could see shooting stars marking the sky, coursing it with a light that was almost as old as time itself. It was a quiet night. I could almost hear the sound of the moving stars, just as I had been accustomed to hearing on the old ship.

I stayed here for a while, floating amid water lilies, finding the peace I had been longing for.

Story credit: Image by Mikael Jansson for Interview Magazine.

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