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Dead Man’s Dump by Isaac Rosenberg (killed in action 1 April 1918)

The plunging limbers over the shattered track
Racketed with their rusty freight,
Stuck out like many crowns of thorns,
And the rusty stakes like sceptres old
To stay the flood of brutish men
Upon our brothers dear.

The wheels lurched over sprawled dead
But pained them not, though their bones crunched,
Their shut mouths made no moan.
They lie there huddled, friend and foeman,
Man born of man, and born of woman,
And shells go crying over them
From night till night and now.

Earth has waited for them,
All the time of their growth
Fretting for their decay:
Now she has them at last!
In the strength of their strength
Suspended – stopped and held.

What fierce imaginings their dark souls lit?
Earth! have they gone into you!
Somewhere they must have gone,
And flung on your hard back
Is their soul’s sack
Emptied of God-ancestralled essences.
Who hurled them out? Who hurled?

None saw their spirits’ shadow shake the grass,
Or stood aside for the half used life to pass
Out of those doomed nostrils and the doomed mouth,
When the swift iron burning bee
Drained the wild honey of their youth.

What of us who, flung on the shrieking pyre,
Walk, our usual thoughts untouched,
Our lucky limbs as on ichor fed,
Immortal seeming ever?
Perhaps when the flames beat loud on us,
A fear may choke in our veins
And the startled blood may stop.

The air is loud with death,
The dark air spurts with fire,
The explosions ceaseless are.
Timelessly now, some minutes past,
Those dead strode time with vigorous life,
Till the shrapnel called ‘An end!’
But not to all. In bleeding pangs
Some borne on stretchers dreamed of home,
Dear things, war-blotted from their hearts.

Maniac Earth! howling and flying, your bowel
Seared by the jagged fire, the iron love,
The impetuous storm of savage love.
Dark Earth! dark Heavens! swinging in chemic smoke,
What dead are born when you kiss each soundless soul
With lightning and thunder from your mined heart,
Which man’s self dug, and his blind fingers loosed?

A man’s brains splattered on
A stretcher-bearer’s face;
His shook shoulders slipped their load,
But when they bent to look again
The drowning soul was sunk too deep
For human tenderness.

They left this dead with the older dead,
Stretched at the cross roads.

Burnt black by strange decay
Their sinister faces lie,
The lid over each eye,
The grass and coloured clay
More motion have than they,
Joined to the great sunk silences.

Here is one not long dead;
His dark hearing caught our far wheels,
And the choked soul stretched weak hands
To reach the living word the far wheels said,
The blood-dazed intelligence beating for light,
Crying through the suspense of the far torturing wheels
Swift for the end to break
Or the wheels to break,
Cried as the tide of the world broke over his sight.

Will they come? Will they ever come?
Even as the mixed hoofs of the mules,
The quivering-bellied mules,
And the rushing wheels all mixed
With his tortured upturned sight.
So we crashed round the bend,
We heard his weak scream,
We heard his very last sound,
And our wheels grazed his dead face.

Patrols went out each night to repair wire, and watch out for enemy activity. On the night of 31 March Rosenberg was detailed for one of these patrols. They crept out into the uncertain darkness, feeling their way across the cratered and treacherous ground. Whether they came across an unexploded shell, or whether an alert German sniper spotted them, they did not return. Rosenberg’s body was never found. It was 1 April, and another attack was expected; his remaining comrades had other worries. The adjutant noted in the regimental diary that the weather, at least, showed signs of clearing.

(Jean Liddiard, Isaac Rosenberg: The Half Used Life, final paragraph)

Amy Winehouse booed and jeered by Serbian crowd as she slurs and stumbles her way through Belgrade concert

Fucking hell.

I would not be tempted to shag this even if I was blind fucking drunk. Especially not with her father watching.

Am I the only one who thinks Amy Winehouse is eminently fuckable? The fake tits and tan really do it for me.

Seriously, Amy, I am the man for you. I hear you are single now. I smoke, I drink. Please get in touch. No pressure. Come to Manchester. You will feel at home, there are lots of Jews up here.

If there was an Emmy for the best supported actress, sweater stretcher Christina Hendricks would have won it hands down. The 35-year-old star of Mad Men wore a plunging lavender gown by Zac Posen – with ostrich feathers at the sleeves and skirt – which emphasised her hourglass figure, not to mention her huge rack, at the recent Emmy awards ceremony.

However, stunning bra busting Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, who was voted Sexiest Woman Alive by female readers of Esquire and called the perfect physical role model by equalities minister Lynne Featherstone, claims she still finds it hard to borrow a designer dress.

This could be because she destroys them with her massive melons. Christ, how much do they weigh?

I would splash out on a new dress and give her a pearl necklace. A dead heat in a Zeppelin race.

Bowling balls, jugs, funbags, dirty pillows, bangers, rib balloons, milk cans, etc., etc.

Nine months ago he was fighting for his life after an horrific accident cost him both his back paws.

Now Oscar is a bionic cat after pioneering surgery to give him prosthetic back paws.

Oscar was operated on by groundbreaking veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick. Healing with prosthetics, titanium and other metals – he sounds like the stuff of science fiction.

The beautiful black cat had his back paws sliced off by a combine harvester after he had gone out to play in fields near his home.

Twelve people were confirmed dead and three were fighting for their lives last night after a taxi driver went on the rampage in the UK’s worst shooting incident since the Dunblane massacre. Derrick Bird, 52, shot dead his twin brother and at least one colleague before driving through rural west Cumbria firing seemingly at random at people in towns, villages and on country roads and then killing himself. Eleven people were injured, three critically, during the three-and-a-half hour shooting spree which paralysed the county as police, hunting him on the ground and by air, ordered a lockdown.

Cumbria police said they might never completely uncover the reason for what they described as the “most exceptional and challenging incident” the small force had ever dealt with.

The alarm was raised in the harbour town of Whitehaven at 10.30 a.m. By then, it is believed, Bird’s twin brother, David, and the family solicitor, Kevin Commons, were already dead. It ended only when the gunman’s body was found in a copse outside the hamlet of Boot at 1.40pm.

Two guns were recovered by police, a .22 rifle with a telescopic sight and a shotgun. There were unconfirmed reports that Bird, from Rowrah, near Frizington, who was divorced with two sons and was newly a grandfather, had argued with colleagues on the taxi rank the previous night.

According to one woman in Whitehaven, Bird “shook them [his colleagues] by the hands one by one and said ‘There’s going to be a rampage in this town tomorrow and it’s going to start with my mother’. They just laughed and didn’t take him seriously.”

One witness, Barrie Moss, said he was cycling through Egremont when he came face to face with the killer, who had just got out of his car. Bird, carrying “this absolutely huge sniper rifle”, stared at him before driving away, Moss said. He then saw that an older woman carrying bags of shopping had been shot. Moss described how he and another man cradled the woman as she died: “He must have seen her, stopped, got out and shot her point blank in the back of the head. I don’t think anybody could have done anything.”

Now that’s awesome!

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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