God

God

By Isaac Rosenberg 1890–1918 Isaac Rosenberg
In his malodorous brain what slugs and mire,
Lanthorned in his oblique eyes, guttering burned!
His body lodged a rat where men nursed souls.
The world flashed grape-green eyes of a foiled cat
To him. On fragments of an old shrunk power,
On shy and maimed, on women wrung awry,
He lay, a bullying hulk, to crush them more.
But when one, fearless, turned and clawed like bronze,
Cringing was easy to blunt these stern paws,
And he would weigh the heavier on those after.

Who rests in God’s mean flattery now? Your wealth
Is but his cunning to make death more hard.
Your iron sinews take more pain in breaking.
And he has made the market for your beauty
Too poor to buy, although you die to sell.
Only that he has never heard of sleep;
And when the cats come out the rats are sly.
Here we are safe till he slinks in at dawn

But he has gnawed a fibre from strange roots,
And in the morning some pale wonder ceases.
Things are not strange and strange things are forgetful.
Ah! if the day were arid, somehow lost
Out of us, but it is as hair of us,
And only in the hush no wind stirs it.
And in the light vague trouble lifts and breathes,
And restlessness still shadows the lost ways.
The fingers shut on voices that pass through,
Where blind farewells are taken easily ....

Ah! this miasma of a rotting God!

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Isaac Rosenberg 1890–1918

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Disappointment & Failure

Poetic Terms Imagery, Blank Verse

 Isaac  Rosenberg

Biography

Isaac Rosenberg may be remembered as a Jewish-English poet, or a poet of war, but his poetry stretches beyond those narrow categories. Since Rosenberg was only twenty-eight when he died, most critics have tended to treat his corpus as a promising but flawed start, and they wonder if he would have become a great poet had he lived. Rosenberg's status as an English poet is thus still debated: he was a Jewish poet, he was an English . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Disappointment & Failure

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Imagery, Blank Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.