for Bill

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for Bill

Postby oldborris » Sun Sep 25, 2005 7:47 am

Bill: you like discussions on philosophy. Well, here is such a discussion, totally non-contentious, which you might enjoy but is pitched at a level far beyond my capacity to absorb. Much too deep for me. But maybe you could cope. It's an extract from the autobiography of Sean O'Casey with whose plays and writings you are, no doubt, familiar. You know....Juno & The Paycock, Shadow of a Gunman, The Plough and the Stars, The Bishop's Bonfiire, etc.

[i]"A sturdy, brown-bearded, dirty-faced man was standing on the poop of the canal boat, gazing at the waters tumbling through the sluices of the lock, occasionally taking a cutty clay pipe from this mouth, and jetting a flying spit right into the heart of the green and white tumbling waters, seeming surprised and disappointed that the spit was so rapidly lost in the whirling cascade. A man on the boat with a boathook in his hand, watched the spit disappear the moment it hit the water.

- We all go like the poor spit, he said to his comrade, a gathering together, a second or so in th' mouth, a sudden jet of life, an' we're out of sight of all.

- Ay, indeed, said the brown-bearded man; casual spit or special spit - all gone together an' lost in the whirling medley.

- Oh, no, none of us is lost altogether, replied his comrade wtih the boat-hook, no not altogether; no, not quite.

- No one's more than a dhrowned dhrop in a mill-stream, went on the one with the beard, a dhrop there in th' dark. shown' no sign at all, an' a dhrop with the sun shinin' on it for a second an' then meetin' the darkness of th' other one. I know you're here amd you know I'm here an' that's about as far as it goes. But what the hell are you to a Chinaman, or a Chinaman to me? He comes as I go, or I go as he comes, an' he nor me is no wiser of one another. You don't even know who havin' a pint in Leech's opposite whie we're talkin' here.

- I don't, agreed the man wit the boat-hook, but I know who's not havin' one, and that's more important to me."


My sympathies are with the man with the boat-hook. So, Bill, let you and I pop over to Leech's and sink a pint. My shout.
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