I Hear An Army Charging Upon The Land Poem by James Joyce

I Hear An Army Charging Upon The Land

Rating: 3.7

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

They cry unto the night their battle-name:
I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
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 shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

James Niles 08 August 2007

I do love James Joyce, though I do confess to puzzlement at his prose and pleasure at the irony of his poetry's utter clarity.

11 4 Reply
Kay Martinez 30 June 2009

Incredibly powerful poem-it clangs upon the heart.

9 3 Reply
Gangadharan Nair Pulingat 21 November 2014

This is not only a poem but also a great work of freedom of thought in which james joyce stood for individual freedom always makes his opinion against war the real war that destructs the humanlife.

2 4 Reply
Leslie Sharp 31 October 2014

War a ugly thing being it is of the earthly or of the soul. Hatred core of all evil.

3 2 Reply
Babatunde Aremu 21 November 2014

A great poem. The whole world has been under jackboots leaving behind 'sorrows and tears' (a la Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the great Nigerian musician)

2 2 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 16 February 2023

LAST: as it becomes clear that what the reader is really witnessing is a picture of psychological distress. The reader learns that that this army is, in fact, the product of a terrible nightmare; the sleeping speaker 'moan[s]'.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 16 February 2023

In short, they're terrifyingly bizarre, like creatures sent from some mythological world sent to attack the speaker. The poem links this horror with the speaker's mental state

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Sylvia Frances Chan 16 February 2023

CONTINUED: 'foam' swirling about their horses' knees, their green—yes, green! —hair flowing in the wind. They scream 'their battle-name' (or battle cry) , conveying their bloodlust.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 16 February 2023

The speaker uses language and imagery that makes the soldiers seem inhuman, even supernatural (and thus all the more disconcerting) . They rise out of the sea,

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Castellenas John 03 May 2019

One of the great poems. Thank you James Joyce.

2 1 Reply
James Joyce

James Joyce

Dublin / Ireland
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