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James Joyce Poems

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James Joyce
 February 2, 1882 –  January 13, 1941

  Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher,
and literary critic





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Dear Heart

Dear heart, why will you use me so?
Dear eyes that gently me upbraid,
Still are you beautiful — - but O,
How is your beauty raimented!

Through the clear mirror of your eyes,
Through the soft sigh of kiss to kiss,
Desolate winds assail with cries
The shadowy garden where love is.

And soon shall love dissolved be
When over us the wild winds blow — -
But you, dear love, too dear to me,
Alas! why will you use me so?






Bid Adieu

Bid adieu, adieu, adieu,
  Bid adieu to girlish days,
Happy Love is come to woo
  Thee and woo thy girlish ways—
The zone that doth become thee fair,
The snood upon thy yellow hair,

When thou hast heard his name upon
  The bugles of the cherubim
Begin thou softly to unzone
  Thy girlish bosom unto him
And softly to undo the snood
That is the sign of maidenhood.




I Hear an Army

I hear an army charging upon the land,
And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.

They cry unto the night their battle-name:
I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?




Nightpiece

Gaunt in gloom,
The pale stars their torches,
Enshrouded, wave.
Ghostfires from heaven's far verges faint illume,
Arches on soaring arches,
Night's sindark nave.

Seraphim,
The lost hosts awaken
To service till
In moonless gloom each lapses muted, dim,
Raised when she has and shaken
Her thurible.

And long and loud,
To night's nave upsoaring,
A starknell tolls
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.



In the Dark Pine-Wood

In the dark pine-wood
I would we lay,
In deep cool shadow
At noon of day.

How sweet to lie there,
Sweet to kiss,
Where the great pine-forest
Enaisled is!

Thy kiss descending
Sweeter were
With a soft tumult
Of thy hair.

O unto the pine-wood
At noon of day
Come with me now,
Sweet love, away.



Of That So Sweet Imprisonment

Of that so sweet imprisonment
My soul, dearest, is fain — -
Soft arms that woo me to relent
And woo me to detain.
Ah, could they ever hold me there
Gladly were I a prisoner!

Dearest, through interwoven arms
By love made tremulous,
That night allures me where alarms
Nowise may trouble us;
But sleep to dreamier sleep be wed
Where soul with soul lies prisoned.




Lean Out of the Window

Lean out of the window,
Goldenhair,
I hear you singing
A merry air.

My book was closed,
I read no more,
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.

I have left my book,
I have left my room,
For I heard you singing
Through the gloom.

Singing and singing
A merry air,
Lean out of the window,
Goldenhair.



Lightly Come or Lightly Go

Lightly come or lightly go:
Though thy heart presage thee woe,
Vales and many a wasted sun,
Oread let thy laughter run,
Till the irreverent mountain air
Ripple all thy flying hair.

Lightly, lightly — - ever so:
Clouds that wrap the vales below
At the hour of evenstar
Lowliest attendants are;
Love and laughter song-confessed
When the heart is heaviest.



Sleep Now, O Sleep Now

Sleep now, O sleep now,
O you unquiet heart!
A voice crying "Sleep now"
Is heard in my heart.

The voice of the winter
Is heard at the door.
O sleep, for the winter
Is crying "Sleep no more."

My kiss will give peace now
And quiet to your heart — -
Sleep on in peace now,
O you unquiet heart!



Rain Has Fallen All the Day

Rain has fallen all the day.
O come among the laden trees:
The leaves lie thick upon the way
Of memories.

Staying a little by the way
Of memories shall we depart.
Come, my beloved, where I may
Speak to your heart.


Silently She's Combing


Silently she's combing,
Combing her long hair
Silently and graciously,
With many a pretty air.

The sun is in the willow leaves
And on the dappled grass,
And still she's combing her long hair
Before the looking-glass.

I pray you, cease to comb out,
Comb out your long hair,
For I have heard of witchery
Under a pretty air,

That makes as one thing to the lover
Staying and going hence,
All fair, with many a pretty air
And many a negligence.



This Heart That Flutters Near My Heart

This heart that flutters near my heart
My hope and all my riches is,
Unhappy when we draw apart
And happy between kiss and kiss:
My hope and all my riches — - yes! — -
And all my happiness.

For there, as in some mossy nest
The wrens will divers treasures keep,
I laid those treasures I possessed
Ere that mine eyes had learned to weep.
Shall we not be as wise as they
Though love live but a day?





Thou Leanest to the Shell of Night

Thou leanest to the shell of night,
Dear lady, a divining ear.
In that soft choiring of delight
What sound hath made thy heart to fear?
Seemed it of rivers rushing forth
From the grey deserts of the north?

That mood of thine
Is his, if thou but scan it well,
Who a mad tale bequeaths to us
At ghosting hour conjurable — -
And all for some strange name he read
          In Purchas or in Holinshed.



My Love Is in a Light Attire

My love is in a light attire
Among the apple-trees,
Where the gay winds do most desire
To run in companies.

There, where the gay winds stay to woo
The young leaves as they pass,
My love goes slowly, bending to
Her shadow on the grass;

And where the sky's a pale blue cup
Over the laughing land,
My love goes lightly, holding up
Her dress with dainty hand.



When the Star Goes Forth in Heaven

When the shy star goes forth in heaven
All maidenly, disconsolate,
Hear you amid the drowsy even
One who is singing by your gate.
His song is softer than the dew
And he is come to visit you.

O bend no more in revery
When he at eventide is calling.
Nor muse: Who may this singer be
Whose song about my heart is falling?
Know you by this, the lover's chant,
'Tis I that am your visitant.






Strings in the Earth and Air

Strings in the earth and air
Make music sweet;
Strings by the river where
The willows meet.

There's music along the river
For Love wanders there,
Pale flowers on his mantle,
Dark leaves on his hair.

All softly playing,
With head to the music bent,
And fingers straying
Upon an instrument.




Winds of May

Winds of May, that dance on the sea,
Dancing a ring-around in glee
From furrow to furrow, while overhead
The foam flies up to be garlanded,
In silvery arches spanning the air,
Saw you my true love anywhere?
Welladay! Welladay!
For the winds of May!
Love is unhappy when love is away!



What Counsel Has the Hooded Moon

What counsel has the hooded moon
Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,
Of Love in ancient plenilune,
Glory and stars beneath his feet — -
A sage that is but kith and kin
With the comedian Capuchin?

Believe me rather that am wise
In disregard of the divine,
A glory kindles in those eyes
Trembles to starlight. Mine, O Mine!
No more be tears in moon or mist
For thee, sweet sentimentalist.


A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Your eyes have set man's heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim,
Tell no more of enchanted days.

And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Tell no more of enchanted days.







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