Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Poem of the Week

Break of Day in the Trenches

    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
    (And God knows what antipathies).
    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 man's veins
    Drop, and are ever dropping;
    But mine in my ear is safe,
    Just a little white with the dust.

Isaac Rosenberg


Can Bass 1 said...

My word, dear girl. What a well chosen (and hitherto unknown, to me) poem!

The Dotterel said...

I wasn't familiar with this, either.

oxford-reader said...

It struck me as rather moving, and good for an early morning post. I'd never read it either!