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Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918)

Louse Hunting


              1Nudes -- stark and glistening,
              2Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces
              3And raging limbs
              4Whirl over the floor one fire.
              5For a shirt verminously busy
              6Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths
              7Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
              8And soon the shirt was aflare
              9Over the candle he'd lit while we lay.

            10Then we all sprang up and stript
            11To hunt the verminous brood.
            12Soon like a demons' pantomine
            13The place was raging.
            14See the silhouettes agape,
            15See the glibbering shadows
            16Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
            17See gargantuan hooked fingers
            18Pluck in supreme flesh
            19To smutch supreme littleness.
            20See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling
            21Because some wizard vermin
            22Charmed from the quiet this revel
            23When our ears were half lulled
            24By the dark music
            25Blown from Sleep's trumpet.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Isaac Rosenberg, The Collected Works of Isaac Rosenberg: Poetry, Prose, Letters, and Some Drawings, ed. Gordon Bottomley and Denys Harding, with a Foreword by Siegfried Sassoon (London: Chatto and Windus, 1937): 79. PR 6035 O67 1937 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1922
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1916 - 1918
Rhyme: unrhyming


Other poems by Isaac Rosenberg