James Stephens

(9 February 1882 - 26 December 1950 / Dublin)

James Stephens Poems

41. The Ancient Elf 1/1/2004

Comments about James Stephens

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Best Poem of James Stephens

I Heard A Bird At Dawn

I heard a bird at dawn
Singing sweetly on a tree,
That the dew was on the lawn,
And the wind was on the lea;
But I didn't listen to him,
For he didn't sing to me.

I didn't listen to him,
For he didn't sing to me
That the dew was on the lawn
And the wind was on the lea;
I was singing at the time
Just as prettily as he.

I was singing all the time,
Just a prettily as he,
About the dew upon the lawn
And the wind upon the lea;
So I didn't listen to him
As he sang upon a tree.

Read the full of I Heard A Bird At Dawn

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!