Nudes, stark and glistening, Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces And raging limbs Whirl over the floor one fire; For a shirt verminously busy Yon soldier tore from his throat With oaths Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice, And soon the shirt was aflare Over the candle he’d lit while we lay. Then we all sprang up and stript To hunt the verminous brood. Soon like a demons’ pantomime This plunge was raging. See the silhouettes agape, See the gibbering shadows Mixed with the baffled arms on the wall. See Gargantuan hooked fingers Pluck in supreme flesh To smutch supreme littleness. See the merry limbs in that Highland fling Because some wizard vermin willed To charm from the quiet this revel When our ears were half lulled By the dark music Blown from Sleep’s trumpet.
This poem is in the public domain.
Born in 1890 in England, Isaac Rosenberg served in the military during World War I and became known as one of England's finest trench poets. He died in France in 1918, and his poems were posthumously collected and published in 1922.
Date Published: 2018-11-11
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/louse-hunting