Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Louse Hunting

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.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Isaac Rosenberg

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