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Ecce Puer

Ecce Puer by James Joyce is a sad poem about a man losing his father around the same time as his own son is born. This creates a feeling of mixed emotions throughout the poem, with heartache and joy being felt simultaneously.

Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

Ecce Puer was voted as one of Ireland’s favourite poems by readers of the Irish Times in 1999.

Ecce Puer by James Joyce. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Ecce Puer

Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.

Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!

Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.

A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son!

Ecce Puer by James Joyce. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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