Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BREAK OF DAY IN THE TRENCHES, by ISAAC ROSENBERG

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BREAK OF DAY IN THE TRENCHES, by         Recitation     Poet's Biography
First Line: The darkness crumbles away
Last Line: Just a little white with the dust.
Subject(s): Soldiers; Soldiers' Writings; World War I; First World War

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 whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowls 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.

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