The Troop Ship

By Isaac Rosenberg

Grotesque and queerly huddled
Contortionists to twist
The sleepy soul to a sleep,
We lie all sorts of ways
And cannot sleep.
The wet wind is so cold,
And the lurching men so careless,
That, should you drop to a doze,
Winds' fumble or men's feet
Are on your face.


My eyes catch ruddy necks
Sturdily pressed back--
All a red-brick moving glint.
Like flaming pendulums, hands
Swing across the khakiŽ--
Mustard-coloured khaki--
To the automatic feet.

We husband the ancient glory
In these bared necks and hands.
Not broke is the forge of Mars ;
But a subtler brain beats iron
To shoe the hoofs of death
(Who paws dynamic air now).
Blind fingers loose an iron cloud
To rain immortal darkness
On strong eyes.
Sunday, March 3rd, 2024