Isaac Rosenberg

(25 November 1890 – 1 April 1918 / Bristol / England)

Louse Hunting - Poem by 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' pantomine
The place was raging.
See the silhouettes agape,
See the glibbering 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.


Comments about Louse Hunting by Isaac Rosenberg

  • Terry Craddock (3/28/2015 5:07:00 AM)


    Thank God we do not suffer the indignation and agonies of lice, as soldiers in trenches during World War One did. I think if voting readers understood the topic of this poem better, they would have appreciated the context and voted higher as the poem deserves. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: soldier, music, sleep, fire, hunting, dark, spring



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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