Break of Day in the Trenches a Poem by Isaac Rosenberg Essays

Break of Day in the Trenches a Poem by Isaac Rosenberg Essays

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Why I chose this poem:
I chose Break of day in the trenches because in the title and the first few lines of the poem, it paints a mental image of the beginning of another horrible day at war. The poet compares the war from a seemingly unimportant rat’s perspective. Another reason I chose this poem was that upon reading a biography of the poet, I realised that he had lived in South Africa for nearly two years.

Biography of Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg was born on 25 November, 1890. He was Jewish and was born in Bristol. When he was seven, his family moved to a poor district of the East End of London. He attended St. Paul’s School in Wellclose Square, until, when he was 10, his family moved to Stepney, to experience Jewish schooling. He left school four years later to become an apprentice engraver. His hobbies were poetry and visual art and he managed to attend the Slade School of Modern Art.
He suffered from ill-health and thought that his chronic bronchitis might worsen, so he immigrated to South Africa, where his sister, Mina, lived. He needed employment in order to help his mother; therefore he returned to England and enlisted in the army. He was part of the 12th Suffolk Folk Regiment, a regiment for men under 5’3’’ tall. He turned down an offer to become a lance corporal and was transferred to the 11th battalion. He was sent to the Somme on the Western Front in France, after a night of night patrol, he was killed at daybreak, on 1 April 1918.




Analysis of the poem:
At the beginning of a new day at war, a soldier standing guard pulls a poppy from the top of his trench. A rat then touches his hand, which causes him to ponder what war is like for a rat.
“As I pull the parapet’s poppy/ to stick behind my ear.” The poppy i...


... middle of paper ...


...claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.












Biography of Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen was born near Oswestry, Shropshire. His father was a railway worker. He was schooled at Birkenhead Institute and Liverpool and Shrewsbury Technical College. His shortage of money prevented him from attending the University of London. He took up a teaching post in Bordeaux, France. He enlisted in the army shortly after war was declared.
In 1917, he suffered from “shell-shock” and was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital to recover. Here he met fellow poet, Siegfried Sassoon, who read his poetry and suggested how they may be improved.
He was posted back to France in 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery while in action. He died on the Sombre Canal, a week before Armistice.














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