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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Dog's Moments

Beckett fact no. 28.

'I met her on a bench, on the bank of the canal, one of the canals, for our town boasts two, though I never knew which was which', the narrator of First Love says of his first tryst with Lulu/Anna. It's the Grand. The other, of Brendan Behan Old Triangle fame, is the Royal.

In Krapp's Last Tape, Krapp remembers sitting on a bench by what seems the same canal waiting for his mother to die, with for company 'Hardly a soul, just a few regulars, nursemaids, infants, old men, dogs.' When the blind is pulled down in his mother's room he lingers a while, hanging onto the 'Moments. Her moments, my moments. [Pause.] The dog's moments.'

The opening of the poem 'Sanies I' also features a nursing home on the banks of the canal:

Exeo in a spasm
tired of my darling’s red sputum
from the Portobello Private Nursing Home
its secret things
and toil to the crest of the surge of the steep perilous bridge

Steep enough for the Rathgar tram to fall over it in 1861, killing six passengers. None of that Luas travel-in-comfort nonsense back then.

A proposal by a Dublin councillor to chop down the trees along the canal bank as a deterrent to prostitutes (Lulu/Anna among them, presumably) was contested by Oliver St John Gogarty, who claimed the trees were 'more sinned against than sinning'.

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