Wednesday, June 1, 2011

At sea, two voices

And yet not boys but youth itself. Distance detached them, water unformed them, particularities washed away. The sea proposed an ideal, unindividuate, sublime. Above on my perch I sit and watch. Alone one man.

Not entirely alone, said Scrotes.

No, MacMurrough conceded. One is never 
alone with the ghost of a friend ..

And it was pleasant to speak of such things while on their windy prominence they sat. Below, the boys thithered and thenced to the raft and back. Three times, four times, five times, six. Like mating ducks they swam: parallel but one slightly ahead ..

You know, he said to Scrotes, I remember at my school the monks discouraged particular friendships .. Desire was there anyway. We all desired. We were riven with it. The monks policed friendships but all they effected was .. abandon. Instead of fumbling with love, we fumbled in the dark.

I have a friend, or rather I had one, he's dead now; but he believed that I existed .. You asked me earlier were there many of us about. The question for my friend was, were there any of us at all. 

Jamie O'Neill
At Swim, Two Boys
Scribner, 2001©


  1. That is so touching. I think it as very complex and simple at the same time. It has different layers when it says " He believed he existed..."
    I like to read these kind of writings. Next week I´m travelling to Argentina and I got an apartment for rent in buenos aires to stay there for a while. I think I will have the time and I will be relaxed enough to read things like this. Please post more!

  2. Dear Nicole, it is so true that circumstances play a part in what we feel we can read at any given time. I've had to learn to read as well as I can in sometimes incongruous circumstances. The beauty of this book open to all occasions. It would be nice to cite it again, so I am hopeful. Thank you for visiting.