1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


! POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG Startlingly, As a mountain-side Wakes aware of its other side When from a cave a leopard comes, On its heels the same red sand, Springing with acquainted air, Sprang an intelligence Coloured as a whim of mine, Showed to my dull outer eyes The living eyes underneath. Did I not shrivel up and take the place of air, Secret as those eyes were, And those strong eyes call up a giant frame ? And I am that now. Pharaoh is sleek and deep ; And where his love for me is set—under The deeps, on their floor, or in the shallow ways, Though I have been as a diver—never yet Could I find. ... I have a way, a touchstone A small misdemeanour, touch of rebelliousness ; To prick the vein of father, monitor, foe, Will tell which of these his kingship is. If I shut my eyes to the edict, And leave the pincers to rust 56

! — ; MOSES And the slaves 1 teeth as God made them, Then hide from the summoning tribunal, Pharaoh will speak; and I'll seize that word to act. Should the word be a foe's I can use it well As a poison to soak into Egypt's bowels ; A wraith from old Nile will cry " For his mercy they break his back " And I shall have a great following for this, The rude, touched heart of the mauled, sweaty horde, Their rough tongues fawn at my hands, their redstreaked eyes Glitter with sacrifice. Well ! Pharaoh bids me act. . . . Hah ! Pm all a-bristle. . . . Lord, his eyes would go wide If he knew the road my rampant dreams would race I am too much awake now—restless, so restless. Behind white mists invisibly My thoughts stood like a mountain But Power, watching as a man, Saw no mountain there Only the mixing mist and sky And the flat earth. 57