First 489 words of the document:
Reality of battles: (nature)
i. The land where battles took place is described as being damaged
along with the soldiers. The farmers "tend the land back into itself"
as though caring for it. Suggests its being restored to its natural
ii. The earth is personified as patient and watchful. It "stands sentinel"
as if protecting the memory of the soldiers, by constantly reveling
more remains "reaching back into itself for reminders".
iii. The soldiers remains as described using images from nature to
emphasize their fragile state e.g. "broken birds egg of a skull"
iv. The natural metaphor of "nesting machine gun" to describe the
weapons used to kill the soldiers suggests that nature was abused
by the man-made war.
i. The references to death are surrounded by peaceful and reflective
images. The death happened many years earlier and the remains of
the soldiers who died are being found by farmers who are caring for
ii. The descriptions of the way the bones are found help us imagine the
horror of the deaths. The poem refers to "their jaws, those that have
them" and "their absent tongues" reminds us their bodies have
been destroyed by decay and gunfire.
i. Assonance and alliteration create specific sounds throughout the
poem. "a chit of bone, the china plate of a shoulder blade" sounds
like the plough striking the soldiers skeletons.
ii. The alliteration in the poem gives some phrases a more determined
feeling. The earth "stands sentinel" and "is like a wound working a
foreign body to the surface of the skin"
iii. Words with double meanings intensify the thoughtful tone of the
poem. The "relic of a finger" associates the soldiers with saintliness,
and the "foreign body" could mean foreign soldier.
Beginnings of poems (establish a theme):
i. Poem begins with the idea that something has already happened.
"afterward" refers to the war.
ii. The poet uses a pronoun "them" to make the reader wonder who this
refers to. The answer "wasted young" is shocking compared to the
iii. The farmers are finding remains of dead soldiers. This introduces a
quiet horror into the poem
iv. First stanza introduces idea of damage and loss. The word "wasted"
suggests pointless loss of lives.
v. The farmers "tended the land back into itself". Introduces idea it has
been corrupted and injured by the fighting, which is described in
more detail later in the poem.
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Here's a taster:
i. Imagery makes the soldiers bones seem fragile and delicate e.g.
"china plate of a shoulder blade".
ii. The poet uses the image of a wound "working a foreign body to the
surface of the skin" to describe the soldiers being unearthed as if
the land wants them to be discovered.
iii. The poet combines the image of horror and beauty. He talks about
"the notes they had sung", which sounds gentle, but their "absent
tongues" remind the reader they have rotted away.…read more