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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG work on it then. I do believe I could make a fine thing of Judas. Judas as a character is more magnanimous than Moses, and I believe I could make it very intense and write a lot from material out here. Thanks very much for your joining in with me to rout the pest out, but I have tried all kinds of stuff; if you can think of any preparation you believe effective Fd be most grateful for it." The " louse hunt" refers to a night scene in which Rosenberg took part, and which forcibly struck his imagination as a subject for a Goya picture or for a poem like the "Jolly Beggars": a barn full of naked soldiers—Scottish and others—singing, swearing, and laughing, in mad antics as they pursued the chase. To Gordon BottomUy {Postmark, April 8, 1917). " All through this winter I have felt most crotchety, all kinds of small things interfering with my fitness. My hands would get chilblains or bad boots would make my feet sore ; and this aggravating a general run-down-ness, I have not felt too happy. I have gone less warmly clad during the winter than through the summer, because of the increased liveliness on my clothes. I've been stung to what we call dumping ' ' a great 40

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR part of my clothing, as I thought it wisest to go cold than lousy. It may have been this that caused all the crotchetiness. However, we've been in no from shell- fire—for a good long danger—that is, while, though so very close to most terrible fighting. But as far as houses or sign of ordinary human living is concerned, we might as well be in the Sahara Desert. I think I could give some blood-curdling touches if I wished to tell all I see, of dead buried men blown out of their graves, and more, but I will spare you all this." To Edward Marsh {Postmark, May, 1917). " Regular rhythms I do not like much, but, of course, it depends on where the stress and accent are laid. I think there is nothing finer than the vigorous opening to 'Lycidas' for music; yet it is regular. ... It is only when we get a bit of a rest and the others might be gambling or squabbling I do a line or two and continue this way. The weather is gorgeous now, and we are bivouacked in the fields." To Edward Marsh (1917). " I hope you have not yet got my poem, The ' Amulet,' I've asked my sister to send you. If you 41