Isaac Rosenberg(25 November 1890 - 1 April 1918 / Bristol / England)
Break of Day in the Trenches
- by Isaac Rosenberg45
The darkness crumbles away It is the same old druid Time as ever, Only a live thing leaps my hand, A queer sardonic rat, As I pull the parapet's poppy To stick behind my ear. Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew Your cosmopolitan sympathies, Now you have touched this English hand You will do the same to a German Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure To cross the sleeping green between. It seems you inwardly grin as you pass Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes, Less chanced than you for life, Bonds to the whims of murder, Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, The torn fields of France. What do you see in our eyes At the shrieking iron and flame Hurled through still heavens? What quaver -what heart aghast? Poppies whose roots are in men's veins Drop, and are ever dropping; But mine in my ear is safe, Just a little white with the dust.
Returning, We Hear the Larks
- by Isaac Rosenberg35
Sombre the night is. And though we have our lives, we know What sinister threat lies there.
Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know This poison-blasted track opens on our camp - On a little safe sleep.
But hark! joy - joy - strange joy. Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks. Music showering our upturned list'ning faces.
Death could drop from the dark As easily as song - But song only dropped, Like a blind man's dreams on the sand By dangerous tides, Like a girl's dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there, Or her kisses where a serpent hides.
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