Potato I Have

From Ulysses (1922)

By William Walsh

Potato I have. Potatoes and marge, marge and potatoes. Drop him like a hot potato. They say they used to give pauper children soup to change to protestants in the time of the potato blight. Potato. In liver gravy Bloom mashed mashed potatoes. Thither the extremely large wains bring foison of the fields, flaskets of cauliflowers, floats of spinach, pineapple chunks. Rangoon beans, strikes of tomatoes, drums of figs, drills of Swedes, spherical potatoes and tallies of iridescent kale, York and Savoy, and trays of onions, pearls of the earth, and punnets of mushrooms and custard marrows and fat vetches and bere and rape and red green yellow brown russet sweet big bitter ripe pomellated apples and chips of strawberries and sieves of gooseberries, pulpy and pelurious, and strawberries fit for princes and raspberries from their canes. Bloom pats with parceled hands watch fobpocket, bookpocket, pursepocket, sweets of sine, potatosoap. A phial, an Agnus Ddei, a shrivelled potato and a celluloid doll fall out. I had it examined by a botanical expert and elicited the information that it was ablossom of the homegrown potato plant purloined from a forcingcase of the model farm. Her hand slides into his left trouser pocket and brings out a hard black shrivelled potato. She puts the potato greedily into a pocket then links his arm, cuddling him with supple warmth. Sir Walter Ralegh brought from the new world that potato and that weed, the one a killer of pestilence by absorption, the other a poisoner of the ear, eye, heart, memory, will understanding, all. After them march the guilds and trades and trainbands with flying colours: coopers, bird fanciers, millwrights, newspaper canvassers, law scriveners, masseurs, vinters, trussmakers, chimneysweeps, lard refiners, tabinet and poplin weavers, farriers, Italian warehousemen, church decorators, bootjack manufacturers, undertakers, silk mercers, lapidaries, salesmasters, corkcutters, assessors of fire losses, dyers and cleaners, export bottlers, fellmongers, ticketwriters, heraldic seal engravers, horse repository hands, bullion brokers, cricket an archery outfitters, riddlemakers, egg and potato factors, hosiers and glovers, plumbing contractors. Potato Preservative against Plague and Pestilence, pray for us. Give me back that potato, will you? She hauls up a reef of her slip, revealing her bare thigh, and unrolls the potato from the top of her stocking. A yoke of buckets leopards all over him and his rearing nag a torrent of mutton broth with dancing coins of carrots, barley, onions, turnips, potatoes. He is pelted with gravel, caggabestumps, bisquitboxes, eggs, potatoes, dead codfish, woman’s slipperslappers. Old Gummy Granny in sugarloaf hat appears seated on a toadstool, the deathflower of the potato blight on her breast. On the contrary that stab in the back touch was quite in keeping with those italianos though candidly he was none the less free to admit those icecreamers and friers in the fish way not to mention the chip potato variety and so forth over in little Italy there near the Coombe were sober thrifty hardworking fellows except perhaps a bit too given to pothunting the harmless necessary animal of the feline persuasion of others at night so as to have a good old succulent tucking with garlic de rigueur of him or the next day on the quiet and, he added, on the cheap. …O no thank you not in my house stealing my potatoes and the oysters 2/6 per doz…he was on the pop of asking me too the night in the kitchen I was rolling the potato cake…wouldn’t even teem the potatoes for you…shes restless knowing shes pretty with her lips so red a pity they wont stay that way I was too but there no use going to the fair with the thing answering me like a fishwoman when I asked to go for a half a stone of potatoes the day we met Mrs Joe Gallaher at the trotting matches and she pretended not to see us in her trap with Friery the solicitor…


Unknown Arts, by William Walsh

A collection of texts and poems derived from the works of James Joyce.

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