James Joyce missed the boat in Algeciras

I live for blog comments.  They often lead to fascinating revelations and internet journeys.  From a recent comment I learned that “Algeciras, stinking arsehole of Europe” is not just a witty slag on my profile page.  Apparently I have been innocently plagiarizing someone’s work.

An anonymous chap commented that he found my blog by searching google for a poem he had read fifty years ago.  He only remembered the poet’s name and one line: “Algeciras, stinking arsehold of Europe.”

What a tease!  The guy leaves me with this tidbit, but leaves no contact info and fails to mention the poet.  Inquiring minds want to know.  I need to read this poem!

Intrigued and breathless with literary excitement, I turned to Dr., Google and plugged in the divine snippet of verse.  Lo and behold, I found something even more interesting.

Did you know that our fair city, Algeciras, gets a mention at the end of  “Molly Bloom’s soliloquy” which is the last chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses?

“…and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deep down torrent…”

The soliloquy rambles on about Moors and Ronda, and geraniums and other local things that made me feel proud that Jame Joyce had given Algeciras its 15 minutes of fame back in 1922.

It somehow seems appropriate that Molly Bloom missed the boat here, since missing the boat is the main tourist attraction in Algeciras.

No mention of stinking arsehols.  But some lovely images from this corner of the world.

Here is the end of Ulysses.

“.…and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas 2 glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes 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 yes I will Yes.”



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