1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


. I ; INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR know sometimes one cannot exactly define one's feelings nor explain reasons for liking and disliking but there is then the right of a suspicion that the thing has not been properly understood or one is prejudiced. It is much my fault if I am not understood, I know ; but I also feel a kind of injustice if my idea is not grasped and is ignored, and only petty cavilling at form, which I had known all along was so, is continually knocked into me. I feel quite sure that form is only a question of time. I am afraid I am more rude than ever, but I have exaggerated here the difference between your criticisms and 's. Ideas of poetry can be very different too. Tennyson thought 4 1 Burns' love-songs important, but the Cottar's S. N. 1 poor. Wordsworth thought the opposite." To Miss Seaton {November 15, 1916 ; 'written in Hospital) "London may not be the place for poetry to keep healthy in, but Shakespeare did most of his work there, and Donne, Keats, Milton, Blake— think nearly all our big poets. But, after all, that is a matter of personal likings or otherwise. Most of the French country I have seen has been 35

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG devastated by war, torn up—even the woods look ghastly with their shell-shattered trees ; our only recollections of warm and comfortable feelings are the rare times amongst human villages, which happened about twice in a year ; but who can tell what one will like or do after the war? If the twentieth century is so awful, tell me what period you believe most enviable. Even Pater points out the Renaissance was not an outburst—it was no simultaneous marked impulse of minds living in a certain period of time—but scattered and isolated. 11 To Edward Marsh {Postmark, January 30, 1917). " I think with you that poetry should be definite thought and clear expressions, however subtle ; I don't think there should be any vagueness at all, but a sense of something hidden and felt to be there. Now, when my things fail to be clear, I am sure it is because of the luckless choice of a word or the failure to introduce a word that would flash my idea plain, as it is to my own mind. I believe my Amazon poem to be my best poem. If there is any difficulty, it must be in words here and there, the changing or elimination of which may make the poem clear. It has taken