Isaac Rosenberg (1890–1918)
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.