Saturday, January 17, 2015

Analysis of "Night Piece" by James Joyce

Poem found here: "Night Piece" by James Joyce

Three sestets that build off the simple prompt of "Night."  Now, why specifically night piece?  There's definitely a feel of free from consciousness with the lines, association of the physical and the mental,

Especially with the first line, "Gaunt in the gloom," where the construction sets up an ambiguous subject, at first, then the focus on above, "The pale stars their torches, / Enshrouded, wave."  Note how the construction falls apart here with the emphasis on "enshrouded," then the attached descriptor of "wave" to elicit motion -- a constant enshrouded feeling.  However, there's the connection of the image to, "Ghostfires from heaven's far verges faint illume / Arches on soaring arches, Night's sindark nave."  I wasn't to sure on what or who sindark is, but note how the connection is to the heavens, which is an easy connection but the image becomes a bit more divine.

Like the reference to "Seraphim, / The lost hosts awaken / To service till"  so what turns the poem from rumination is "lost" -- are we talking about the lost seraphim, or is the descriptor of "host" referring to the night itself.  Maybe both.  This is what the speaker is thinking and describing as the night stands still, "In moonless gloom each lapses muted, dim, / Raised when she has a shaken / Her thriuble."  Note the description of her refers to the seraphim who is lost, but raises the gloom with her thurible.  But note how the construction of the sentence has the "moonless gloom" (internal rhyme) stand out.

"And long and loud, / To nights nave upsoaring / A darknell tolls."  I wasn't sure what a "starknell" is ither, but the lines remind me of how the skylark goes up in Shelley's poem.  In this there's this physical sense that something is tolled on in the night, and the the spiritual at the end, "As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud, / Voidward from the adoring / Waste of souls."

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