Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Break of Day in the Trenches
By Isaac Rosenberg
 
From “Trench Poems”

  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        5
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies
(And God knows what antipathies).
Now you have touched this English hand        10
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,        15
Less chanced than you for life;
Bonds to the whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes        20
At the boom, the hiss, the swiftness,
The irrevocable earth buffet—
A shell’s haphazard fury.
What rootless poppies dropping?…..
But mine in my ear is safe,        25
Just a little white with the dust.
 
 
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