Isaac Rosenberg was an English poet of the First World War who was considered to be one of the greatest of all English war poets. His "Poems from the Trenches" are recognised as some of the most outstanding written during the First World War.
Isaac Rosenberg was born to Barnet and Annie Rosenberg, who had fled Devinsk in Lithuania to escape anti-Jewish pogroms. In 1897, the family moved to 47 Cable Street in a poor district of the East End of London, and one with a strong Jewish community. He attended St. Paul's School around the corner in Wellclose Square, until his family (of Russian descent) moved to Stepney in 1900, so he could experience Jewish schooling. He left ... more »
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Isaac Rosenberg Poems
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,
Dead Man's Dump
The plunging limbers over the shattered track Racketed with their rusty freight, Stuck out like many crowns of thorns, And the rusty stakes like sceptres old
Returning, We Hear the Larks
Sombre the night is. And though we have our lives, we know What sinister threat lies there.
In the Trenches
I snatched two poppies From the parapet’s ledge, Two bright red poppies That winked on the ledge.
I killed them, but they would not die. Yea! all the day and all the night For them I could not rest or sleep, Nor guard from them nor hide in flight.
Nudes -- stark and glistening, Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces And raging limbs Whirl over the floor one fire.
Through These Pale Cold Days
Through these pale cold days What dark faces burn Out of three thousand years, And their wild eyes yearn,
On Receiving News of the War
Snow is a strange white word. No ice or frost Has asked of bud or bird For Winter's cost.
Moses, from whose loins I sprung, Lit by a lamp in his blood Ten immutable rules, a moon For mutable lampless men.
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
What in our lives is burnt In the fire of this? The heart’s dear granary? The much we shall miss?
Soldier: Twentieth Century
I love you, great new Titan! Am I not you? Napoleon or Caesar Out of you grew.
‘A worm fed on the heart of Corinth'
A worm fed on the heart of Corinth, Babylon and Rome: Not Paris raped tall Helen, But this incestuous worm,
The Troop Ship
Grotesque and queerly huddled Contortionists to twist The sleepy soul to a sleep, We lie all sorts of ways
Comments about Isaac Rosenberg
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
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,
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, ...