1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


: POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG same with all people, no matter what their condition) to be terribly tragic. You are the victim of a horrible conspiracy ; everything is unfair. The gods have either forgotten you or made you a sort of scapegoat to bear all the punishment. I believe, however hard one's lot is, one ought to try and accommodate oneself to the conditions ; and except in a case of purely physical pain, I think it can be done. Why not make the very utmost of our lives ? . . . Tni a practical economist in this respect. I endeavour to waste nothing. . . . Waste words! Not to talk is to waste words. . . . "To most people life is a musical instrument on which they are unable to play : but in the musician's hands it becomes a living thing. . . . The artist can see beauty everywhere, anywhere. . . ." In what is perhaps an earlier letter he excuses his neglect of serious reading by his lack of leisure and the worries that make him crave for amusing books as an antidote " You mustn't forget the circumstances I have been brought up in, the little education I have 14

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR had. Nobody ever told me what to read, or ever put poetry in my way. I don't think I knew what real poetry was till I read Keats a couple of years ago. True, I galloped through Byron when I was about fourteen, but I fancy I read him more for the story than for the poetry. I used to try to imitate him. Anyway, if I didn't quite take to Donne at first, you understand why. Poetical appreciation is only newly bursting on me. I always enjoyed Shelley and Keats. The ' Hyperion , lavished me. . . . " Whenever I read anything in a great man's life that pulls him down to me, my heart always pleads for him, and my mind pictures extenuating circumstances. * * * * " Have you ever picked up a book that looks like a Bible on the outside, but is full of poetry or comic within ? My Hood is like that, and, I am afraid, so am I. Whenever I feel inclined to laugh, my visage assumes the longitude and gravity of a church spire. * * # # " I can't say I have ever experienced the power of one spirit over another, except in books, of 15