First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Louse Hunting


Nudes---stark aglisten Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces of fiends 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 vermin 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 Dug in supreme flesh To smutch the 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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