Louse Hunting


Isaac Rosenberg

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

The place was raging.

See the silhouettes agape,

See the gibbering shadows

Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.

See gargantuan hooked fingers

Pluck in supreme flesh

To smutch supreme littleness.

See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling

Because some wizard vermin

Charmed from the quiet this revel

When our ears were half lulled

By the dark music

Blown from Sleep's trumpet.


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