Today is Bloomsday. As I’ll be spending the day in Pamplona with an international group of translators, I’m taking along a copy of one of my favorite James Joyce poems to recite at lunch. Whenever I read “Ecce Puer,” I hear the sweet voice of Joan Baez, who included a musical version of it on her 1968 album Baptism: A Journey Through Our Time.


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!


Del oscuro pasado
Nace un niño;
De gozo y de pesar
Mi corazón se desgarra.

Tranquila en su cuna
La vida yace.
¡Que el amor y la piedad
Abran sus ojos!

Joven vida se exhala
Sobre el cristal;
El mundo que no era
Se llena de existencia.

Un niño duerme:
Un anciano ha partido.
¡Oh padre abandonado
Perdona a tu hijo!

Translation by José Antonio Álvarez Amorós