Friday, August 20, 2010

The Auld Sod

I've been to Samarkand, but I've never actually set foot in Ireland.  I've long suspected it looks something like this:
I looked carefully around me.  Brown bags and block bogs were arranged neatly on each side of the road with rectangular boxes carved out of them here and there, each wiwth  filling of yellow-brown brown-yellow water.  Far away near the sky tiny people were stooped at their turf-work, cutting out precisely-shaped sods with their patent spades and building them into a tall memorial twice the height of a horse and cart.  Sounds came from them to the Sergeant and myself, delivered to our ears without charge by the west wind, sounds of laughing and whistling and bits of verse from the old bog-songs.  Nearer, a house stood attended by three trees and surrounded by the happiness of a coterie of fowls, all of them picking and rooting and disputating loudly in the unrelenting manufacture of their eggs.   The house was quiet in itself and silent but a canopy of lazy smoke had been erected over the chimney to indicate that people were within engaged on tasks.  Ahead of us went the road, running swiftly across the flat land and pausing slightly to climb slowly up a hill that was waiting for it in a place where there was tall grass, grey boulders and rank stunted trees.  The whole overhead was occupied by the sky, serene, impenetrable, ineffable and incomparable, with a fine island of clouds anchored in the calm two yards to the right of Mr Jarvis's outhouse.
 --Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman 86 (Granada ed. 1985)

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