1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR had. Nobody ever told me what to read, or ever put poetry in my way. I don't think I knew what real poetry was till I read Keats a couple of years ago. True, I galloped through Byron when I was about fourteen, but I fancy I read him more for the story than for the poetry. I used to try to imitate him. Anyway, if I didn't quite take to Donne at first, you understand why. Poetical appreciation is only newly bursting on me. I always enjoyed Shelley and Keats. The ' Hyperion , lavished me. . . . " Whenever I read anything in a great man's life that pulls him down to me, my heart always pleads for him, and my mind pictures extenuating circumstances. * * * * " Have you ever picked up a book that looks like a Bible on the outside, but is full of poetry or comic within ? My Hood is like that, and, I am afraid, so am I. Whenever I feel inclined to laugh, my visage assumes the longitude and gravity of a church spire. * * # # " I can't say I have ever experienced the power of one spirit over another, except in books, of 15

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG course, at least in any intense way that you mean. Unless you mean the interest one awakes in us, and we long to know more, and none other. I suppose we are all influenced by everybody we come in contact with, in a subconscious way, if us is not direct, and everything that happens to experience ; but only the few know it. Most people can only see and hear the noisy sunsets, mountains and waterfalls ; but the delicate greys and hues, the star in the puddle, the quiet sailing cloud, is nothing to them. Of course, I only mean this metaphorically, as distinguishing between obvious experiences and the almost imperceptible. I still have no work to do. I think, if nothing turns up here, I will go to Africa. I could not endure to live upon my people ; and up till now I have been giving them from what I had managed to save up when I was at work. It is nearly run out now, and if I am to do nothing, I would rather do it somewhere else. Besides, 1 feel so cramped up here, I can do no drawing, reading, or anything. . . . " Create our own experience ! We don't. can, but we Very often it's only the trouble of a word, and who knows what we miss through not having spoken? It's the man with impudence who has 16