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Isaac Rosenberg
- Break of Day in the
  Trenches
- Dead Man's Dump
- The Immortals
- On Receiving the
  News of War

- Returning, We hear
  the Larks

 

Break of Day in the Trenches

The darkness crumbles away--
It is the same old druid Time as ever.
Only a live thing leaps my hand--
A queer sardonic rat--
As I pull the parapet's poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
Now you have touched this English hand
You will do the same to a German--
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
To cross the sleeping green between.
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whim of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens?
What quaver--what heart aghast?
Poppies whose roots are in man's veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe,
Just a little white with the dust.

- Isaac Rosenberg


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