Stabbed in the Eye by Mr. James Joyce

Stabbed in the Eye by Mr. James Joyce

by Tony Noland


are you, Mr. James Joyce,
to know me as you do?


dare you?
No Dubliner I, I who was no
artist as a young man
and am now but a pale shadow of an
artist as a not-yet-old man,
yet with a single line,
you, Mr. James Joyce,
illuminate, reveal and expose me.


have I done to you that
your dead lines live in me
exposing the cracks in the pot
I call my soul,
the milk-filled pot
I have so carefully glued
back together?
Can it be fair that you have this power over me


your ashes and dust were
ashes and dust before my poor
Irish-American mother
drew her first breath, child of an angry
Irish mother?


in my heart is the peg that tunes the
ancestral chord,
that emerald string, plucked
and singing at your touch? Do you
know, Mr. James Joyce, that in
my land,
your land,
means nothing but beer and bad loans?
For forty one years I
never read you,
Mr. James Joyce,
because you were thrown in my face whenever
writing was discussed. I
never read you,
Mr. James Joyce,
and now that
I have read you
I know
you know
who I am,
Mr. James Joyce,
you force me to look into that cracked pot and wonder


this shaky pen, the sole
inheritance of a hundred generations of poets
on my mother's side
should now be put to the service
of such a poor scribe,
the blood thinned
with time & space. No longer Irish, no longer Catholic,
barely a writer, and as a poet,
a joke
not worth the name.
Will I ever evoke the knowing word, the cupping of
breath and life that you, Mr. James Joyce,
laid down in
your refractory lines?
And will you forgive me,
Mr. James Joyce,
when I fall short
of you?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. wonderful I love the way you put this Tony!

  2. Hmmmm, I've never read Joyce either. Interesting format for your dialogue!

  3. I never liked James Joyce but we too had him thrust on us for A Level English Literature. I wonder what I'd make of him now.

  4. I enjoy writers that make me take another look at things, including myself. Very good.


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