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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR part

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR part of my clothing, as I thought it wisest to go cold than lousy. It may have been this that caused all the crotchetiness. However, we've been in no from shell- fire—for a good long danger—that is, while, though so very close to most terrible fighting. But as far as houses or sign of ordinary human living is concerned, we might as well be in the Sahara Desert. I think I could give some blood-curdling touches if I wished to tell all I see, of dead buried men blown out of their graves, and more, but I will spare you all this." To Edward Marsh {Postmark, May, 1917). " Regular rhythms I do not like much, but, of course, it depends on where the stress and accent are laid. I think there is nothing finer than the vigorous opening to 'Lycidas' for music; yet it is regular. ... It is only when we get a bit of a rest and the others might be gambling or squabbling I do a line or two and continue this way. The weather is gorgeous now, and we are bivouacked in the fields." To Edward Marsh (1917). " I hope you have not yet got my poem, The ' Amulet,' I've asked my sister to send you. If you 41

; POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG get it, please don't read it, because it's the merest sketch and the best is yet to come. If I am able to carry on with it, 1*11 send you it in a more presentable fashion. I believe I have a good idea at bottom. It's a kind of ' Rape of the Sabine Women ' idea : some strange race of wanderers have settled in some wild place and are perishing out for lack of women. The prince of these explores some country near where the women are most fair. But the natives will not hear of foreign marriages ; and he plots another Rape of the Sabines, but is trapped in the act." To Edward Marsh (1917). " I am now fearfully rushed, but find energy enough to scribble this in the minute I plunder from my work. I believe I can see the obscurities in the 'Daughters, 1 but hardly hope to clear them up in France. The first part, the picture of the Daughters dancing and calling to the spirits of the slain before their last ones have ceased among the boughs of the tree of life, I must still work on. In that part obscure the description of the voice of the Daughter I have not made clear, I see I have tried to suggest the wonderful sound of her voice, spiritual and voluptuous at the same time- 42