Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday War Poet..

Break of Day in the Trenches


Isaac Rosenberg

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 man’s veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe —
Just a little white with the dust.

Isaac Rosenberg was an English poet and writer. His WW1 Poems from the Trenches are considered to be some of the most outstanding poems of the war period. In 1916 he was sent with his battalion, The King's Own Lancaster Regiment to the Western Front.

He was killed on 1 April 1918.



  1. I have seen this painting of Rosenberg before - haughty look, yet a haunting picture overall. This is the first of his poems I have come across, though.

    1. I agree Susan - Rosenberg's poems are very evocative and quite visceral - they leave you gasping at the futility of it all. He has such a wealth of poetry to choose from.


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa, Timmy and I appreciate your interest.