1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG gives chase in his cart. A storm conies on, the mules break down, and by the lightning be sees the Unicorn race by ; a naked black like an apparition rises up and easily lifts the wheels from the rut, and together thev ride to SauPs hut. There Lilith is in great consternation, having seen the Unicorn and knowing the legend of this race of men. The emotion^ of the black ithe Chief) are the really difficult part of my story. Afterwards a host of blacks on horses, like centaurs and buffaloes, come rushing up, the Unicorn in front. On every horse is clasped a woman. Lilith faints, Saul stabs himself, the Chief places Lilith on the Unicorn, and they all race away." In the late summer of this year (1917) Rosenberg came to England on leave. To Gordon Bottomleij (data! September 21. 1917). "The greatest thing of my leave after seeing my mother was your letter which has just arrived. ... I wish I could have seen you, but now I must go on and hope that things will turn out well, and some happy day will give me the chance of meeting you. ... I am afraid I can do no writing or reading ; I feel so restless here and un- 46

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR anchored. We have lived in such an elemental way so long, things here don't look quite right to me somehow ; or it may be the consciousness of my so limited time here for freedom—so little time to do so many things bewilders me. ' The Unicorn,' as will be obvious, is just a basis; its final form will be very different, I hope." 1 On returning to France he was taken ill and sent down the line. The time in hospital was a relief, especially as his restlessness in England had prevented writing or reading. To Miss Section {dated February 14, 1918). " We had a rough time in the trenches with the mud, but now we're out for a bit of a rest, and I will try and write longer letters. You must know by now what a rest behind the line means. I can call the evenings—that is, from tea to lights out—my own ; but there is no chance whatever for seclusion or any hope of writing poetry now. Sometimes I give way and am appalled at the devastation this life seems to have made in my nature. It seems to have blunted me. I seem to be powerless to compel my will to any direction, and all I do is without energy and interest." 47