Frail gift, frail giver, frail blue-veined child.
Three in imaginary love connect through a flower Lucia gives to Amalia. Amalia accepts the advances of her teacher only at arm’s length from a generation’s distance. Perhaps the student associates herself with Lucia, the toddler, to restore her threatened status as an innocent participant in an innocent academic relationship.
Joyce feared his sexual feelings for Lucia and imposed his neurosis onto Bloom and Milly. For Bloom, Milly is Molly persistent in adoring him. Milly wars against her mother who is now calloused against her father. Lucia also fights Nora’s suppression of too-soon sexuality. The author concocts a rationalization where Milly is a mere extension of Molly and, therefore, an extension of Bloom’s devotion for his wife. Through his art, Joyce excused himself for his urges toward Lucia if she is merely a projection of a younger version of Nora. Pot scaled or not. This tea is weak.
These words and music are played again early in Joyce’s Poems Penyeach (“A Flower Given to My Daughter”). Joyce concludes, saying: “In gentle eyes thou veilest/My blueveined child.” In shared consciousness, an understanding of threatened innocence passes from Amalia to Lucia.
I clearly remember my first sight of fractiled blue veins on my infant daughter’s temples and arms. The blue crossed from my eyes to the child’s pulse first in enormous pride and wonder, followed by a weight of crushing responsibility. Joyce’s first responsibility attends his art rather than his child, so Joyce pulls Lucia away from the dance she loved and pushed her toward more “academic” studies. Her mistreatment was not sexual but a corruption of artistic egotism, prompted by Joyce’s belief that his art existed as a force separate from himself. For Joyce, the blue veins host his art, not Lucia’s unique and original spark.
don ward July 7, 2020