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Poetry Analysis Notes


I Hear An Army
by James Joyce
interpreted by Joe Tierney

I hear an army charging upon the land,
And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their
Arrogant, in black armor, behind them stand,
Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the

They cry unto the night their battle-name:
I moan in sleep when i hear afar their whirling
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
They come out of the sea and run shouting by the
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

Poet: James Joyce(1882-1941) was born in Ireland. He went to a Catholic school and was educated by Jesuits. He rebelled against traditional values. He left Ireland after graduating from University College. When his mother died he moved to the continent. In 1920 he moved to Paris. His works include “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and “Ulysses”.

Vocabulary: Disdain - to reject with scorn; frown upon

Type of poem:

Speaker: Poet

The audience refers to a specific group of people. Not a general audience, but not a certain person. A special collection of individuals.

Tone: The tone set changes three times in the poem. It begins with a soft mood, and in a questioning manner. The second tone is an angered one, yet still in questioning mode. The last reverts back to the first tone of a soft and questioning mood.

The author is trying to relate the fact of a lost love and the idea of a lover being lost at sea. The quote “My love, me love, my love, why have you left me alone?”(Joyce 597). Here it supports the fact that the author is showing the loss of a love, for the fact that he/she has been left alone, and he/she is now being found. The idea of a lost lover.

Structure of poem: - Traditional
- End Rhyme Pattern
- Fixed Stanzas

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

“Clanging, Clanging” Onomatopoeia
“My love, my love, my love”

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: [NONE]

Most memorable quote from the poem:
“I hear an army charging upon the land”

© Smelli Notes 2001