Barnacle goose

In a simple sentence with very complex associations, Stephen considers fish feeding on the corpse of the drowned man: "God becomes man becomes fish becomes barnacle goose becomes featherbed mountain." The associative logic of the sentence is partly scientific, partly spiritualist, partly theological, partly legendary, partly erotic, partly mythographic—and fully poetic. Its emotional implications are largely positive.

JH 2017

2014 photograph of barnacle goose by Andreas Trepte. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

A graphic articulating the significance that early Christians found in the Greek word for fish, ichthys. Source:

Kingfishers and a stork, miniature illustrations of fish-eating birds in the Topographia Hibernica (ca. 1220), Royal MS 13 B. VIII f.9, held in the British Library. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration of barnacle geese hatching in the Topographia Hibernica, Royal MS 13 B. VIII f.8v. Source:

Barnacle geese, in a woodblock print in the Cosmographie Universelle of Munster (Basle, 1552). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The "goose-tree," another woodblock print from John Gerard's Herball (1597). Source: Wikimedia Commons.