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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG the poet. ... He writes ' : It is a long time since I have read anything that has impressed me so much as your " Moses " and some of your short poems. . . .' He confesses parts are difficult, and he is not sure whether it's my fault or his. 11 The next letter is the first of a series to Mr. Bottomley, whom he was only to know by correspondence. He was now for a time working with the Salvage Corps. To Gordon Bottomley (Postmark, June 12, 1916). " If you really mean what you say in your letter, there is no need to tell you how proud I am. I had to read your letter many times before I could convince myself you were not ' pulling my leg. 1 People are always telling me my work is promising —incomprehensible, but promising, and all that sort of thing, and my meekness subsides before the patronizing knowingness. The first thing I saw of yours was last year in the Georgian Book, The ' End of the World. 1 I must have worried all London about it—certainly everybody I know. I had never seen anything like it. After that I got hold of ' Chambers of Imagery. 1 Mr. Marsh told me of your plays, but I joined the Army and have 32

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR never been able to get at them. It is a great thing to me to be able to tell you now in this way what marvellous pleasure your work has given me, and what pride that my work pleases yon. I had ideas for a play called ' Adam and Lilith 1 before I came to France, but I must wait now. 11 To Gordon Bottomley (Postmark, July 23, 1916). " Your letter came to-day with Mr. Trevelyan's, like two friends to take me for a picnic. Or rather like friends come to release the convict from his chains with his innocence in their hands, as one sees in the twopenny picture palace. You might say, friends come to take you to church, or the priest to the prisoner. Simple poetry,—that is where an interesting complexity of thought is kept in tone and right value to the dominating idea so that it is understandable and still ungraspable. I know it is beyond my reach just now, except, perhaps, in bits. I am always afraid of being empty. When I get more leisure in more settled times I will work on a larger scale and give myself room ; then I may be less frustrated in my efforts to be clear, and satisfy myself too. I think what you say about getting beauty by phrasing of 33 c