1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


— POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG Messenger The royal paunch of Pharaoh dangled worriedly, Not knowing where the wrong : viands once giantlike Came to him thin and thinner — what rats gnawed ? Honor, the swarm of slaves ! The satraps swore Their wives' bones hurt them when they lay abed, That before were soft and plump : the people howled They'd boil the slaves three days to get their fat, Ending the famine. A haggard council held Decrees the two hind molars, those two staunchest Busy labourers in the belly's service, to be drawn From out each slave's greased mouth, which soon From incapacity will lose the habit Of eating. Moses Well, should their bones stick out to find the air, I'll make a use of them for pleasantness Droll demonstrations of anatomy. Messenger And when you've ended find 'twas one on sharks. [Moses signs to Messenger to go. Edit Messenger.] 54

;! Fine ! Fine MOSES Moses See, in my brain What madmen have rushed through And like a tornado Torn up the tight roots Of some dead universe : The old clay is broken For a power to soak in and knit It all into tougher tissues To hold life Pricking my nerves till the brain might crack It boils to my finger-tips, Till my hands ache to grip The hammer—the lone hammer That breaks lives into a road Through which my genius drives. Pharaoh well peruked and oiled, And your admirable pyramids, And your interminable procession Of crowded kings, You are my little fishing rods Wherewith I catch the fish To suit my hungry belly. I am rough now, and new, and will have no tailor. 55