Could you help me grasp the poem "On receiving News of the War" by Isaac Rosenberg?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Isaac Rosenberg was a young poet who served, and was killed, in World War I.  Many critics feel that his best poems are those in which he expresses his honest, unromantic feelings about war.

In "On Receiving News of the World," Rosenberg compares the world at war to a world that has been overtaken by snow.  This snow has robbed the world of "bud or bird," and has had a negative effect on "men's hearts":

Some spirit old

Hath turned with malign kiss

Our lives to mould.

Even God himself is effected by war:

Red fangs have torn His face.
God's blood is shed.
He mourns from His lone place
His children dead.

War is a "crimson [bloody] curse" that has stolen the pure "pristine bloom" from the universe.


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