by James Joyce (1882 - 1941)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

A memory of the players in a mirror at midnight
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
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!

First published in Poesia, April 1920


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Un souvenir des acteurs dans un miroir à minuit", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 82

Un souvenir des acteurs dans un miroir à minuit
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Ils font semblant de parler la langue de l'amour. Grincement
Des treize dents,
Sourire de mâchoires maigres. Fouette
Ta démangeaison et ta reculade, gloutonnerie nue de la chair.
Le souffle de l'amour en toi est éventé, parlé ou chanté,
Aussi aigre que l'haleine d'un chat,
Râpeux que sa langue.

Ce gris qui regarde
Ne ment pas, peau morne et os.
Laisse aux lèvres grasses leurs baisers. Personne
Ne la choisira pour poser la bouche sur ce que tu vois.
La faim extrême tient son heure.
Arrache ton cœur, sang salé, fruit de larmes.
Arrache et dévore !


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2009 by Guy Laffaille, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2009-11-09
Line count: 14
Word count: 97