James Stephens

(9 February 1882 - 26 December 1950 / Dublin)

James Stephens Poems

41. The Ancient Elf 1/1/2004

Comments about James Stephens

  • Aylish (4/13/2018 10:18:00 AM)

    Does anyone know the poem by James Stephens 'O Ghost, that has gone away'? I need to check a text.

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  • Jenny (12/13/2017 4:05:00 AM)

    In the forth line of the poem Check I believe the word should be stole not sole. I had to memorise this at school back in the early 60's and the word was stole.

  • Careful with that dogma, my karma might hit it . (7/1/2006 6:06:00 AM)

    Where is the brilliant James Stephens poem 'The Shell'? It should be here. The simple act of putting a shell to the ear caused him to produce a truly wonderful poem.

Best Poem of James Stephens

The Ancient Elf

I am the maker,
The builder, the breaker,
The eagle-winged helper,
The speedy forsaker!

The lance and the lyre,
The water, the fire,
The tooth of oppression,
The lip of desire!

The snare and the wing,
They honey, the sting!
When you seek for me--look
For a different thing!

I, careless and gay,
Never mean what I say,
For my thoughts and my eyes
Look the opposite way!

Read the full of The Ancient Elf

Hate

My enemy came nigh,
And I
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage, said to me:
"Some day, when this is past,
When all the arrows that we have are cast,

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