Louse Hunting

By Isaac Rosenberg 1890–1918 Isaac Rosenberg
Nudes—stark and glistening,
Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces
And raging limbs
Whirl over the floor one fire.
For a shirt verminously busy
Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths
Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
And soon the shirt was aflare
Over the candle he’d lit while we lay.

Then we all sprang up and stript
To hunt the verminous brood.
Soon like a demons’ pantomime
The place was raging.
See the silhouettes agape,
See the gibbering shadows
Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
See gargantuan hooked fingers
Pluck in supreme flesh
To smutch supreme littleness.
See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling
Because some wizard vermin
Charmed from the quiet this revel
When our ears were half lulled
By the dark music
Blown from Sleep’s trumpet.

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Poet Isaac Rosenberg 1890–1918

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Subjects Mythology & Folklore, Death, War & Conflict, Horror, Social Commentaries, Living

Poetic Terms Free 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 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Death, War & Conflict, Horror, Social Commentaries, Living

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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