Isaac Rosenberg (1890–1918)
138 Returning, We Hear the Larks
Sombre the night is.
And though we have our lives, we know
What sinister threat lurks there.
Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
This poison- blasted track opens on our camp –
On a little safe sleep.
But hark! joy – joy – strange joy.
Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
Music showering our upturned list’ning faces.
Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song –
But song only dropped,
Like a blind man’s dreams on the sand
By dangerous tides,
Like a girl’s dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
Or her kisses where a serpent hides.
This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (https://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/education/tutorials/intro/rose); © Poems of the First World War: ‘Never Such Innocence’, ed. Martin Stephen (Everyman, 1995), p. 169.