by James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "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