Excerpts from "The Journey" with poems by James Joyce
please push the button below to hear the excerpts, performed by the composer, below that are the poems:
1. I hear an army charging upon the land,
I hear an army charging upon the land,
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?
2. A Memory of the Players in a Mirror at Midnight
They mouth love’s language. Gnash
The thirteen teeth
Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh.
Love’s breath in you is stale, worded or sung,
As sour as cat’s breath,
Harsh of tongue.
This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone.
Leave greasy lips their kissing. None
Will choose her what you see to mouth upon.
Dire hunger holds his hour.
Pluck forth your heart, saltblood, a fruit of tears.
Pluck and devour!
GAUNT in gloom
The pale stars their torches,
Ghost-fires from heaven’s far verges faint illume--
Arches on soaring arches--
Night’s sin-dark nave.
The lost hosts awaken
To service, till
In moonless gloom each lapses, muted, dim,
Raised when she has and shaken
And long and loud
To night’s nave upsoaring,
A star-knell tolls--
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.