It is Joyce's Pomes Pennyeach, with settings by such composers as Arnold Bax, Arthur Bliss and Herbert Howells.
One of the pomes is
Watching the Needleboats at San Sabba:
I heard their young hearts cryingSan Sabba is a suburb of Trieste on the Adriatic. When Joyce lived there in 1912 with Nora, sullenly drinking while he tried to get The Dubliners published, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Loveward above the glancing oar
And heard the prairie grasses sighing:
No more, return no more!
O hearts, O sighing grasses,
Vainly your loveblown bannerets mourn!
No more will the wild wind that passes
Return, no more return.
But what is a needleboat? I've wasted most of the evening googling and am none the wiser. Is it like the Venetian sandolo? Any ideas?