Louse Hunting

Original Text: 
Isaac Rosenberg, The Collected Works of Isaac Rosenberg: Poetry, Prose, Letters, and Some Drawings, ed. Gordon Bottomley and Denys Harding, with a Foreword by Siegfried Sassoon (London: Chatto and Windus, 1937): 79. PR 6035 O67 1937 Robarts Library
1Nudes -- stark and glistening,
2Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces
3And raging limbs
4Whirl over the floor one fire.
5For a shirt verminously busy
6Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths
7Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
8And soon the shirt was aflare
9Over the candle he'd lit while we lay.
10Then we all sprang up and stript
11To hunt the verminous brood.
12Soon like a demons' pantomime
13The place was raging.
14See the silhouettes agape,
15See the glibbering shadows
16Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
17See gargantuan hooked fingers
18Pluck in supreme flesh
19To smutch supreme littleness.
20See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling
21Because some wizard vermin
22Charmed from the quiet this revel
23When our ears were half lulled
24By the dark music
25Blown from Sleep's trumpet.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1996-2000.