Oscar Berg imagined the face of his friend, like the
phantom of a dream, the face of a severed head,
crowned on the brows by its stiff black upright hair
as by an iron crown. It was a priest-like face
and Oscar, remembering how in past times he had told
his friend of all the tumults and unrest and longings
in his soul, day after day and night by night,
only to be answered by his friend’s listening silence, would
have told himself that it was the face of a priest
who heard confessions of those whom he could not absolve.
Paraphrases from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.