33. International Poetry Day – In Memoriam, James Joyce

Today, 4th October, is International Poetry Day, and I wrote the following poem for the occasion.

I’d been re-reading “Giacomo Joyce” – written by Joyce in Trieste, between his Chamber Music poems and his greatest novel, Ulysses – and generally meditating on my years reading his works, during my twenties. I didn’t always understand everything he wrote, but I loved the sound of it, the pen was his musical instrument. He was also a fine tenor singer, who loved Irish song and also English lute songs by Dowland and others. The sound of his writing appealed to the musician in me, and I would often recite his works out loud while wandering inebriated through darkened streets of Dundee, my own Dublin of the imagination.

So, here’s my “in memoriam, James Joyce.” I’ve tried to imitate his style, while referencing the opening to Finegans Wake, and Stephen Dedalus’ walk (with trusty ash-plant walking stick) along the beach at Sandymount in Dalkey, on the outskirts of Dublin. Dedalus was Joyce’s fictional name for his younger self, with reference to Daedalus, father of Icarus – who also makes an appearance in my poem. Icarus = Joyce.



7 thoughts on “33. International Poetry Day – In Memoriam, James Joyce”

  1. TIDE. Great one, Rob. Favorite parts: airlipped, shearsoft, seascored. You captured that Joycean skill for creating words that sound like they ought to be words.

    Funny, I nearly placed my copy of Giacomo Joyce in my collection of bedside books, but didn’t want to break up my Joyce collection. I like the poetry in his prose more than his actual poetry. Joyce is best when he streams. GC is great for showing his tireless need for reinvention.

    I think I’ve been somewhat stupid. I’m trying to break up my writing patterns. I should be reading Joyce and Beckett.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Joyce and Beckett – they will set you right!
      I like your spelling of shearsoft – different from my sheersoft. Both interesting in their own ways.
      Hyphenation: hyphens are absent when I’m going for a legato or mellifluous sound, present when not.
      “Easy now, Jamesy” is a direct quote from Giacomo.

      Glad you spotted TIDE 🙂

      I quit the writing class at the university…and feel all the better for doing so!

      Liked by 1 person

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