poem – the female god

We curl into your eyes-
They drink our files and have never drained :
In the fierce forest of your hair
Our desires beat blindly for their treasure.

In your eyes’ subtle pit,
Far down, glimmer our souls ;
And your hair like massive forest trees
Shadows our pulses, overtired and dumb.

Like a candle lost in an electric glare
Our spirits tread your eyes’ infinities :
In the wrecking waves of your tumultuous locks
Do you not hear the moaning of our pulses ?

Queen ! Goddess! Animal!
In sleep do your dreams battle with our souls ?
When your hair is spread like a lover on the pillow
Do not our jealous pulses wake between ?

You have dethroned the ancient God,
You have usurped his Sabbath, his common days;
Yea, every moment is delivered to you,
Our Temple, our Eternal, our one God !

Our souls have passed into your eyes,
Our days into your hair;
And you, our rose-deaf prison, are very pleased with the world,
Your world.

poem – the one lost

I mingle with your bones:
You steal in subtle noose
This lighted dust .Jehovah loans
And now I lose.

What will the Lender say
When I shall not be found,
Safe-sheltered at the Judgment Day,
Being in you bound ?

he’ll hunt through wards of Heaven,
Call to uncoffined earth
‘Where is this soul, unjudged, not given
Dole for good’s dearth?’

And I, lying so safe
Within you, hearing all,
To have cheated God shall laugh,
Freed by your thrall.

poem – the nun

So thy soul’s meekness shrinks,
Too loth to show her face-
Why should she shun the world ?
It is a holy place.

Concealed to itself
If the flower kept its scent,
Of itself amorous,
Less rich its ornament.

Use-utmost in each kind-
Is beauty, truth in one,
While soul rays light to soul
In one God-linked sun.

poem – a mood

You are so light and gay,
So slight, sweet maid-
Your limbs like leaves in play,
Or beams that grasses braid :
O ! Joys whose jewels pray
My breast to be inlaid.

Frail fairy of the streets ;
Strong, dainty lure;
For all men’s eyes the sweets
Whose lack makes hearts so poor ;
While your heart loveless beats.
Light, laughing, and impure.

O ! Fragrant waft of flesh,
Float through me so-
My limbs are in your mesh,
My blood forgets to flow ;
Ah ! Lilied meadows fresh,
It knows where it would go.

poem – the troop ship

Grotesque and queerly huddled
Contortionists to twist
The sleepy soul to a sleep,
We lie all sorts of ways
And cannot sleep.
The wet wind is so cold,
And the lurching men so careless,
That, should you drop to a doze,
Winds’ fumble or men’s feet
Are on your face.

poem – of any old man

Wreck not the ageing heart of quietness,
With alien uproar and rude jolly cries,
Which satyr like to a mild maidens pride,
Ripens not wisdom, but a large recoil,
Give them their withered peace, their trial grave,
Their old youth’s three-scored shadowy effigy,
Mock them not with your ripened turbulence,
Their frost mailed petulance with your torrid wrath,
While edging your boisterous thunder shivers one word,
Pap to their senile shivering, drug to truth,
The feigned ramparts of bleak ignorance,
Experience – crown of naked majesties,
That tells us nought we know not – but confirms,
Oh think! You reverend shadowy austere,
Your Christ’s youth was not ended when he died.

poem – creation

As the pregnant womb of night
Thrills with imprisoned light,
Misty, nebulous-born,
Growing deeper into her morn,
So man, with no sudden stride,
Bloomed into pride.

In the womb of the All-spirit
The universe lay ; the will
Blind, an atom, lay still.
The pulse of matter
Obeyed in awe
And strove to flatter
The rhythmic law.
But the will grew ; nature feared,
And cast off the child she reared,
Now her rival, instinct-led,
With her own powers impregnated.

Brain and heart, blood-fervid flowers,
Creation is each act of yours.

Your roots are God, the pauseless cause,
But your boughs sway to self windy laws.
Perception is no dreamy birth
And magnifies transfigured earth.

With each new light, our eyes receive
A larger power to perceive.
If we could unveil our eyes,
Become as wise as the All-wise,
No love would be, no mystery :
Love and joy dwell in infinity.
Love begets love ; reaching highest
We find a higher still, unseen
From where we stood to reach the first ;
Moses must die to live in Christ,
The seed be buried to live to green.
Perfection must begin from worst.
Christ perceives a larger reachless love,
More full, and grows to reach thereof.
The green plant yearns for its yellow fruit.
Perfection always is a root,
And joy a motion that cloth feed
Itself on light of its own speed,
And round its radiant circle runs,
Creating and devouring suns.

poem – at night

Crazed shadows, from no golden body
That I can see, embrace me warm ;
All is purple and closed
Round by night’s arm.

A brilliance wings from dark-lit voices,
Wild lost voices of shadows white
See the long houses lean
To the weird flight.

Star amorous things that wake at sleep-time
(Because the sun spreads wide like a tree
With no good fruit for them)
Thrill secrecy.

Pale horses ride before the morning,
The secret roots of the sun to tread,
With hoofs shod with venom
And ageless dread;

To breathe on burning emerald grasses
And opalescent dews of the day,
And poison at the core
What smiles may stray.

poem – spring

I walk and wonder
To hear the birds sing,
Without you my lady
How can there be Spring?
I see the pink blossoms
That slept for a year;
But who could have woke them,
While you were not near?

Birds sing to the blossoms;
Blind, dreaming your pink,
These blush to the songsters,
Your music they think.
So well had you taught them,
To look and to sing;
Your bloom and your music;
The ways of the Spring.

poem – the jew

Moses, from whose loins I sprung,
Lit by a lamp in his blood
Ten immutable rules, a moon
For mutable lampless men.

The blonde, the bronze, the ruddy,
With the same heaving blood,
Keep tide to the moon of Moses.
Then why do they sneer at me?

poem – august 1914

What in our lives is burnt
In the fire of this?
The heart’s dear granary?
The much we shall miss?

Three lives hath one life –
Iron, honey, gold.
The gold, the honey gone –
Left is the hard and cold.

Iron are our lives
Molten right through our youth.
A burnt space through ripe fields
A fair mouth’s broken tooth

Poem – God

In his malodorous brain what slugs and mire,

Lanthorned in his oblique eyes, guttering burned!

His body lodged a rat where men nursed souls.

The world flashed grape-green eyes of a foiled cat

To him. On fragments of an old shrunk power,

On shy and maimed, on women wrung awry,

He lay, a bullying hulk, to crush them more.

But when one, fearless, turned and clawed like bronze,

Cringing was easy to blunt these stern paws,

And he would weigh the heavier on those after.
Who rests in God’s mean flattery now? Your wealth

Is but his cunning to make death more hard.

Your iron sinews take more pain in breaking.

And he has made the market for your beauty

Too poor to buy, although you die to sell.

Only that he has never heard of sleep;

And when the cats come out the rats are sly.

Here we are safe till he slinks in at dawn
But he has gnawed a fibre from strange roots,

And in the morning some pale wonder ceases.

Things are not strange and strange things are forgetful.

Ah! if the day were arid, somehow lost

Out of us, but it is as hair of us,

And only in the hush no wind stirs it.

And in the light vague trouble lifts and breathes,

And restlessness still shadows the lost ways.

The fingers shut on voices that pass through,

Where blind farewells are taken easily ….
Ah! this miasma of a rotting God! 

Poem – Girl To A Soldier On Leave

Love! You love me — your eyes

Have looked through death at mine.

You have tempted a grave too much

I let you — I repine.
I love you – Titan lover,

My own storm-days Titan.

Greater than the son of Zeus,

I know whom I would choose.
Titan — my splendid rebel 

The old Prometheus

Wanes like a ghost before your power —

His pangs were joys to yours.
Pallid days arid and wan

Tied your soul fast.

Babel-cities smoky tops

Pressed upon your growth
Weary gyves. What were you

But a word in the brains ways,

Or the sleep of Circes swine.

One gyve holds you yet.
It held you hiddenly on the Somme

Tied from my heart at home.

O must it loosen now? — I wish

You were bound with the old gyves.
Love! you love me — your eyes

Have looked through death at mine.

You have tempted a grave too much.

I let you – I repine. 

Poem – First Fruits

I did not pluck at all,

And I am sorry now :

The garden is not barred

But the boughs are heavy with snow,

The flake-blossoms thickly fall

And the hid roots sigh, ‘How long will our flowers be marred ?’
Strange as a bird were dumb,

Strange as a hueless leaf.

As one deaf hungers to hear,

Or gazes without belief,

The fruit yearned ‘Fingers, come !’ 

0, shut hands, be empty another year. 

Poem – Far Away 

By what pale light or moon-pale shore

Drifts my soul in lonely flight ?

Regions God had floated o’er

Ere He touched the world with light ?
Not in Heaven and not in earth

Is this water, is this moon ;

For there is no starry birth,

And no dawning and no noon.
Far away-0 far away,

Mist-born-dewy vapours rise

From the dim gates of the day

Far below in earthly skies. 

Poem – Expression 

Call-call–and bruise the air :

Shatter dumb space!

Yea! We will ding this passion everywhere ;

Leaving no place
For the superb and grave

Magnificent throng,

The pregnant queens of quietness that brave

And edge our song
Of wonder at the light

(Our life-leased home),

Of greeting to our housemates.

And in might Our song shall roam
Life’s heart, a blossoming fire

Blown bright by thought,

While gleams and fades the infinite desire,

Phantasmed naught.
Can this be caught and caged?

Wings can be clipt

Of eagles, the sun’s gaudy measure gauged,

But no sense dipt
In the mystery of sense : The troubled throng

Of words break out like smothered fire through

Dense

And smouldering, wrong. 

Poem – Dawn 

O tender first cold flush of rose,

O budded dawn, wake dreamily ;

Your dim lips as your lids unclose

Murmur your own sad threnody.

0 as the soft and frail lights break

Upon your eyelids, and your eyes

Wider and wider grow and wake,

The old pale glory dies.
And then, as sleep lies down to sleep

And all her dreams lie somewhere dead,

The iron shepherd leads his sheep

To pastures parched whose green is shed.

Still, 0 frail dawn, still in your hair

And your cold eyes and sad sweet lips,

The ghosts of all the dreams are them,

To fade like passing ships. 

Poem – Daughters of War

Space beats the ruddy freedom of their limbs,

Their naked dances with man’s spirit naked

By the root side of the tree of life

(The under side of things

And shut from earth’s profoundest eyes).
I saw in prophetic gleams

These mighty daughters in their dances

Beckon each soul aghast from its crimson corpse

To mix in their glittering dances :

I heard the mighty daughters’ giant sighs

In sleepless passion for the sons of valour

And envy of the days fo flesh,

Barring their love with mortal boughs across-

The mortal boughs, the mortal tree of life.

The old bark burnt with iron wars

They blow to a live flame

To char the young green clays

And reach the occult soul; they have no softer lure,

No softer lure than the savage ways of death.
We were satisfied of our lords the moon and the sun

To take our wage of sleep and bread and warmth-

These maidens came-these strong everliving Amazons,

And in an easy might their wrists

Of night’s sway and noon’s sway the sceptres brake,

Clouding the wild, the soft lustres of our eyes.
Clouding the wild lustres, the clinging tender lights ;

Driving the darkness into the flame of clay

With the Amazonian wind of them

Over our corroding faces

That must be broken-broken for evermore,

So the soul can leap out

Into their huge embraces,

Though there are human faces

Best sculptures of Deity,

And sinews lusted after

By the Archangels tall,

Even these must leap to the love-heat of these maidens

From the flame of terrene days,

Leaving grey ashes to the wind-to the wind.
One (whose great lifted face,

Where wisdom’s strength and beauty’s strength

And the thewed strength of large beasts

Moved and merged, gloomed and lit)

Was speaking, surely, as the earth-men’s earth fell away ;

Whose new hearing drank the sound

Where pictures, lutes, and mountains mixed

With the loosed spirit of a thought, Essenced to language thus
‘My sisters force their males

From the doomed earth, from the doomed glee

And hankering of hearts.

Frail hands gleam up through the human quagmire, and lips of ash

Seem to wail, as in sad faded paintings

Far-sunken and strange.

My sisters have their males

Clean of the dust of old days

That clings about those white hands

And yearns in those voices sad :

But these shall not see them,

Or think of them in any days or years ;

They are my sisters’ lovers in other days and years.’ 

Poem -Girl To A Soldier On Leave – Isaac Rosenberg

Girl To A Soldier On Leave 

Love! You love me — your eyes 

Have looked through death at mine. 

You have tempted a grave too much 

I let you — I repine. 
I love you – Titan lover, 

My own storm-days Titan. 

Greater than the son of Zeus, 

I know whom I would choose. 
Titan — my splendid rebel — 

The old Prometheus 

Wanes like a ghost before your power — 

His pangs were joys to yours. 
Pallid days arid and wan 

Tied your soul fast. 

Babel-cities smoky tops 

Pressed upon your growth 
Weary gyves. What were you 

But a word in the brains ways, 

Or the sleep of Circes swine. 

One gyve holds you yet. 
It held you hiddenly on the Somme 

Tied from my heart at home. 

O must it loosen now? — I wish 

You were bound with the old gyves. 
Love! you love me — your eyes 

Have looked through death at mine. 

You have tempted a grave too much. 

I let you – I repine.

Poem – A Girls Thoughts – Isaac Rosenberg

Dim apprehension of a trust 

Comes over me this quiet hour, 

As though the silence were a flower, 

And this, its perfume, dark like dust. 
My individual self would cling 

Through fear, through pride, unto its fears : 

It strives to shut out what it hears, 

The founts of being murmuring. 
0 ! Need, whose hauntings terrorize; 

Whether my maiden ways would hide, 

Or lose and to that need subside, 

Life shrinks and instinct dreads surprise.