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- THE darkness crumbles away --
- it is the same old Druid time has ever,
- Only a live thing leaps my hand --
- A queer sardonic rat --
- As I pull the parapetís 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 bowels 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 manís veins
- Drop, and are ever dropping;
- But mine in my ear is safe,
- Just a little white with the dust.
- Isaac Rosenberg (1916)*
* Killed in action, WWI, 1918
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