1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG devastated by war, torn up—even the woods look ghastly with their shell-shattered trees ; our only recollections of warm and comfortable feelings are the rare times amongst human villages, which happened about twice in a year ; but who can tell what one will like or do after the war? If the twentieth century is so awful, tell me what period you believe most enviable. Even Pater points out the Renaissance was not an outburst—it was no simultaneous marked impulse of minds living in a certain period of time—but scattered and isolated. 11 To Edward Marsh {Postmark, January 30, 1917). " I think with you that poetry should be definite thought and clear expressions, however subtle ; I don't think there should be any vagueness at all, but a sense of something hidden and felt to be there. Now, when my things fail to be clear, I am sure it is because of the luckless choice of a word or the failure to introduce a word that would flash my idea plain, as it is to my own mind. I believe my Amazon poem to be my best poem. If there is any difficulty, it must be in words here and there, the changing or elimination of which may make the poem clear. It has taken

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR me about a year to write ; for I have changed and rechanged it and thought hard over that poem, and striven to get that sense of inexorableness the human (or unhuman) side of this war has. It even penetrates behind human life ; for the ' ' Amazon who speaks in the second half of the poem is imagined to be without her lover yet, while all her sisters have theirs, the released spirits of the slain earth-men ; her lover yet remains to be released. 11 To Miss Seaton (1916). " Many thanks for book and chocolate. Both are being devoured with equal pleasure. I can't get quite the delight in Whitman as from one poem of his I know—' Captain, my Captain. 1 I admire the vigour and independence of his mind, but his diction is so diffused. Emerson and not Whitman is America's poet. You will persist in refusing to see my side of our little debate on criticism. Everybody has agreed with you about the faults, and the reason is obvious ; the faults are so glaring that nobody can fail to see them. But how many have seen the beauties ? And it is here more than the other that the true critic shows himself. And I absolutely disagree that it 37