James Joyce (1882-1941)

Poetry on Peace

James Joyce:

Chamber Music (1907)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou



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.


At that hour when all things have repose,
    O lonely watcher of the skies,
    Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
    The pale gates of sunrise?

When all things repose, do you alone
    Awake to hear the sweet harps play
    To Love before him on his way,
And the night wind answering in antiphon
    Till night is overgone?

Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
    Whose way in heaven is aglow
    At that hour when soft lights come and go,
Soft sweet music in the air above
    And in the earth below.


My dove, my beautiful one,
    Arise, arise!
    The night-dew lies
Upon my lips and eyes.

The odorous winds are weaving
    A music of sighs:
    Arise, arise,
My dove, my beautiful one!

I wait by the cedar tree,
    My sister, my love,
    White breast of the dove,
My breast shall be your bed.

The pale dew lies
    Like a veil on my head.
    My fair one, my fair dove,
Arise, arise!


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!

James Joyce (1882-1941),
Chamber Music, I, III, XIV, XXXIV (1907)

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