Conflict Poems

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Flag

Structure and Form- Structured in three lines stanzas, all of which look like flags. Question asked by someone young and naive, answered by a wise, adviosry answerer. 
 There is a sense of conclusion as the last stanza reveals that the 'Piece of cloth' is infact the flag, and it ends on 'end'

Language- All th e language mocks the idea of patriotism, 'It's just a piece of cloth', literaly it is just cloth, but metaphorically it is not.
'Whats that', present tense, poem is now and will always be an important question.
'Blood you bleed', alliteration, draws attention to alarming phrase, 'You', second person to involve the reader.
'Fluttering in a breeze', innocent imagery, pure and clean, yet flimsy.

Themes-Focuses on patriotism and how a fland can 'Blind' loyalty and conflict.

 Compares with…
‘The Right Word’perceptions and challenging assumptions
‘At the Border, 1979’causes of conflict
'next to of course godamerica i’ – concepts ofpatriotism

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Out of the blue

Structure and Form-Each stanza (except last) 2nd and 4th line end in continuous verbs, 'Burning' ..'Turning', anchors the poem, as if the narrator has just long enough to speak. Repetition 'Waving', waving', adds to effect, drawing out the short time the man has left.

Language-'You have picked me out', death has chosen him. 'So when will you come?', when is he going to die. 
'white cotton shirt', trying to get noticed for help. 'white' symbolises innocence. 'White of surrender is not flying yet'.
'Bullying', the heat of the fire is causing him a lot of pain.
'Wind-milling, wheeling, spiralling, falling', visual imagery of people's bodies falling.

Themes-The poet describes a civilians experience of 9/11 from a first person pov. About death, though it is anticipated rather than past.

 Compares with…
‘The Right Word’perpetrators of terrorism versus consequences
‘Bayonet Charge’ – first person, dramatic monologue and experience of conflict
‘Belfast Confetti’ – first person and civilian victim of terrorism

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Mametz Wood

Structure and Form- A sense of narrative poem, moving across a broad amount of time. It begins reviewing the decades in 1916, describing what the French farmers have found, to a glimpse of battle, and present tense with 'Even now' and 'This morning'
There is no rhythm, each line is to fit the sense, first line is read slowly due to its halting rhythm, where as there is an easier flow on line 10.

Language-'Chit' of a bone, visual imagery, suggests a child and a note.
'China Plate' and 'Bird's egg', suggest how fragile life is. 'Relic' suggest remains of a saint.
'Blown and broken' adds emphasis to the explosions and horror.
Egg metaphor continues in 3rd stanza, 'Nesting machine guns'.
Metaphor as if the men all fit together, image of corpses as 'Broken mosiac', as if they were all once together, and the final stanza 'Notes they had sung'. Also 'dance-macabre' (dance of death) as if the men died but they were having fun together.
The farmers 'tended', there is tenderness in the land.

Themes-The delicatness of life, but also the unity between soldiers and the lives lost.

Compares with… ‘Poppies’ – contemporary poem, mourning loss 
‘Futility’ and ‘The Falling Leaves’ – World War 1, death and loss

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The Yellow Palm

Structure and form-Each stanza starts with 'As i made my way down pallestine street', repetition as each stanza is a snapshot of what the narrator sees as he walks. Only last 2 are linked. Poem is in a loose ballard form, Ballards tell tragic stories and lines 2,4 and 6 rhyme in each stanza, iambic pentametre, to give the feel of him moving and walking.

Language- ‘barbarian’, personification, the city is under attack from the sun
‘armistice’, hint of irony, that the city is supposedly living in peace, which the sun doesn’t respect. ‘funeral’, first image introduces death and its accompanying grief to the poem. 
‘poison gas’, gives an echo of other conflicts (WW1, gas chambers,gassing of Kurdish people in Iraq). No blame is attached, we are just given an objective presentation of grief.
‘blind beggars’, even the soldiers are presented as victims

‘salutes were those of the Imperial Guard’, act of generosity rewarded with threatening gesture.
‘Mother of all Wars’ ,Saddam Hussein’s threat to America if they invaded Iraq in the Gulf War.

Themes- Presents war as something surprisingly seductive for those not fighting. Also describes the damage and suffering caused by war.

 Compares with…‘Belfast Confetti’city/civilians under attack
‘Come On, Come Back’sadness and loss of innocence
‘At the Border, 1979’civilians and Iraq

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The Right Word

Structure and Form-Short stanzas, 3/4 lines each. The first seven follow a loose set up of 'Outside the door', and the describe the outsider, 'Outside your door'..'is a guerrilla warrior'. Each stanza ends on what they see. Each stanza there is a sense of urgency, as if he is getting closer, 'No words can help me now'.

Language- 'Lurking', hanging around with evil intent, turns to 'taking shelter', where we feel sympathy for the boy.
The boy is first called 'Terrorist', a fimilar term, but as it goes on he is labelled as equally subjective, 'a hostile militant'.

Themes-Explores how labelling people can cause us to misunderstand what they are really like, leading to conflict.

 Compares with…‘Flag’ – perceptions and definitions, use of structure to reinforce meaning
‘At the Border, 1979’perceptions and definitions
‘Poppies’ – women /mothers

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At the border, 1979

Structure and form-Narrative structure, the story moves quietly between the actions of the refugees, the words spoken and the description of the immediate scene and countryside. It is free verse with no rhythm or rhyme, to show the luck of the child.

Language- ‘It is your last check-in point in this country!’ − the poem opens with direct speech, suggesting the excitement of moving from one country to another, and the common belief that simple things will be different in a different country.
‘continued / divided’ − identifies the central idea, with the enjambment accentuating the paradox and asking whether the other side of the border is similar or different
‘thick iron chain’ – significant image, strong and firm.
‘I can inhale home’ − another absurdity, figuratively the reader can comprehend the meaning, but literally it is ridiculous; this ambiguity shows the oddity of the concept of border and the emotional heft of home.

Themes-Nationhood, but in this case it is artificial.

Compares with…‘Flag’ – arbitrary and manmade things that can cause conflict
‘next to of course god america i’ – reflection on belonging and national identity 

 

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Belfast Confetti

Structure and Form-First stanza describes first explosion through the central metaphor, the second is the poets attempt to escape. Long Irish lines are used throughout, although the puncation splits it up to create panic and confusion, like they would have felt in Belfast.

Language-'Confetti', refers to waste metal fragments from Belfast shipyards, and the mess of the bullets and shrapnel from the bomb.
Use punctuation as symbolism for what he see in the fighting. 'this hypthenated line'...'with stops and colons', lines are bullets and colons are roadblocks, making a 'Labyrinth', which has a double meaning, as he is lost as it is like a maze, but also in Ancient greece it kept a minotour in, a violent creature, people of Belfast are treated like this.

Themes- Social disruption caused by sectarian violence.

Compares with…‘Out of the Blue’civilian’s experience, impact of conflict / terrorism
‘The Yellow Palm’impact of conflict on city and its people

 

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Poppies

Structure and Form-First stanza deals with the son leaving and the second stanza, the mum trying to cope with it. Third stanza is the climax of him leaving and the mother is 'Led' into the present moment of the poem. There is a slow moving rythm, with the poem halting.

Language-Most of the language is tender, 'graze my nose', however 'graze' still suggests the fear of injury, however slight.
Some language reflects the poets work in textiles, 'crimped' poppy petals.
In the final stanza she refers to the dove she releases as 'An ornamental stitch', once again making a textiles reference, however a 'stitch' can come loose.
Smoothing her sons shirt is a way of her smoothing down her own feelings, links to 'steeled the softening/ of my face'

Themes-Death and loss, although her son has not died yet. Also about motherhood, presenting a female outlook on a soldier.

Compares with…‘The Falling Leaves’female perspective and domestic response to war
‘The Right Word’ – a mother’s view
‘Futility’ – death and the loss of a carefully nurtured life

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Futility

Structure and Form- Has a rhyme scheme of para rhyme, in that the sound is the same but the vowel changes 'Toil'..'Tall', this suggest that its close to reaching harmony yet it is incomplete. It follows the rhythm of iambic pentametre, in the each syllable is stressed, unstressed, stressed etc. Alliteration is used to create a gentle harmony, 'At home...half sown'.

Language-The 'Sun' is the central image throughtout the poem. It is personified with 'It's touch', and 'Kind old sun', presented it as a benign force, almost God like. The 'Earth sleeps', also personification, a metaphor for the soldier who can be woken by the sun.
'Futility', meaning pointless, as is war. Final line sums up 'Futility', Earth is oblivious to death.

Themes-Life and death, and accepting death. Moves beyonnd an individual death, to the universal meaning of death.

Compares with…‘The Falling Leaves’WW1, death and grief
‘Mametz Wood’ – WW1, soldiers and death
‘Poppies’ – mourning and loss 

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The Charge of the Light Brigade

Structure and Form-Loose narrative with the bare facts of charge with little detail. It has a dactylic metre, one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed, to sound like a horse charging.
There is repetion at the end of each stanza 'Rode the six hundred', almost like a chorus. Stanza four ends on 'Not the six hundred' as some have died, 5 ends on 'left of the six hundred' and 6 'Noble six hundred', to honour them.

Language-Epic language to paint a glourious picture rather than make us think. No language that will steer away from the 'Charge', and repeats understandable phrases, like the Biblical phrase 'Valley of death', and uses personification, 'Jaws of death'...'Mouth of hell'.
The repetition creates emphasis, but also gives imagery of the men fighting, 'Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left'.
His verbs present heroic action, such as 'Flash'd'..'sabring'...'charging', emotive language

Themes- Courage of the 'Noble six hundred'

Compares with…‘Bayonet Charge’account of battle and experience of the battlefield
‘Futility’ – death in battle: noble or futile?
‘Come On, Come Back’contrasting tone in the aftermath of battle

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Bayonet Charge

Structure and Form-No rythm or rhyme, suggesting haphazard of battle, however the stanza do show progression, first a soldier running, second him almost stopping in bewilderment. It ends on him trying to escape, we never know if he lives or dies, as if his terror is frozen in time.
Stanza 1&3 are action-based, but stanza 2 slows the poem down, forcing us to consider his situation before we are plunged back into the narrative.

Language-‘In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy’ – warfare presented as an uncomfortable, unnatural, visceral thing, his uniform is uncomfortable.
‘patriotic tear’ − stanza ends indicating the motive that brought him to war, but the delicate ‘patriotic tear’ has transformed into a knot of ‘molten iron’a burning, abject terror at the heart of his being. continues the breathless dash of the first sentence, mirroring the charge, to end with a question asking what has brought him here, ‘the hand pointing that second?’ 
‘Threw up a yellow hare’ −the appearance of a scared and injured hare alerts the soldier to the terrifying exposure of his situation and he continues his charge.

Themes-Survival instict, fear and a realistic impression of combat.
Compares with…‘The Charge of the LightBrigade’ – experience ofconflict/battle
‘Come On Come Back’consequences of battle
‘Flag’ and ‘next to of course god america i’patriotism

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The Falling leaves

Structure and form-The poem is written in a single, long sentence, suggestive of the poet’s developing train of thought. There is a turning point halfway through the poem marked by the semicolon at the end of line 6, where Cole moves from describing the scene before her to thoughts of the soldiers. This change is reflected in the new rhymes in the second half of the poem.
Each alternate line has an iambic pentametre of 3 or 5 feet.

Language-Line 4 uses alliteration to create wind sound 'wind whirled them whilistling'contrast to line five 'silently'. 'Silently'  becasue no one noticed, like the soldiers dying. 'Wind' represents their illness, where as the 'sky' represents heaven.

'Like snowflakes falling on flemish clay', lots of bodies, cannot be identified, like snowflakes.
'The falling leaves' means The dying soldiers.

Themes-Death, loss and senselessness of war


 
Compares with…‘Poppies’ – woman’s perspective, loss and grief
‘Futility’ – WW1, loss and grief, home versus ‘at thefront

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'Come on, come back'

Structure and form-'Come on, come back', is a fictional war time song. The poem is a simple narrative in free verse. The long sentences allow Smith to amass a number of ideas and images around the central figure and permit the reader to make connections and associations. Stanzas to divide narrative and change of scene. Repetition is used to identify key ideas, ‘ominous’, ‘white moonlight’ the ‘embrace’ of the water, but leave them ambiguous. The reader must ascribe meaning to what is ominous.

Language-Full of uncertainity, coming from Vaudevue's mind, 'her memory is dead for evermore'. Lack of purpose shown by repeat of 'sitting alone on a round flat stone'. Emotive language is used so that we sympathise with her, 'Alone', 'she fears and cries'. 'Staggers' and 'seeming smiles' suggest she is struggling. Alliteration is used to show a sense of time passing, 'Waiting, whiling..whittling'

Themes-Soldier's experience, opposing pulls towards life and death, and the nature of memory.

Compares with…‘Out of the Blue’ – an imagined voice, a victim 
‘Bayonet Charge’ – the soldier’s experience

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next to of course god america i

Structure and form-Despite the grammar, it is a sonnet. Enjabament disguises that it is a sonnet, however it does follow a sonnet in that the first eight lines develop an idea, an ironic hymn to praise America, and the last six develop it. Also sonnets are about love, this is ironic as he does not love America and mock patriotism

Language-‘of course’, an assumption suggesting blind, unthinking acceptance. Line 1&2 are from the American national anthem. 'Deafanddumb', all one word to present mindless patriotism. 'Gee by gosh by gum', alliteration but doesnt make sense, emphasises how patriotism doesnt make sense. 'Roaring slaughter', means war, go to war to die.
Last line 'He spoke', entire poem based on not speaking out.

Themes-Patriotism and how it leads to delusion and loss of life.

Compares with…‘Bayonet Charge’patriotism in theory and practice
‘Flag’ – patriotism, symbols and causes of conflict

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Hawk Roosting

Structure and Form-Divided into four stanzas each to make a single statement. There is no real narrative, bird just comments on its aspects of life. Final stanza, nothing has changed, bird wants to keep it this way.

Language-Use of 'I, me, my', hawk's persona, it has no regards for anyone but him and his prey.
‘I sit in the top of the wood’, focus solely on the hawk’s view of the world; it is from the hawk’s perception of itself and the world that the reader draws an idea of the hawk’s nature or character. The hawk is at the top of everything, where it believes it belongs.‘Between my hooked head and hooked feet’, repetition highlights its cruel shape, its very appearance designed for dominance.‘No arguments assert my right’ – perhaps the most significant line of the poem in terms of conflict. The hawk just is powerful, and draws pride and satisfaction from its unchallengeable position. It will do whatever has to be done to maintain that position, because it perceives that as its right. Such is the natural order of things … which may apply to mankind, with his nations and empires, as much as it does to the hawk.

Themes-Bird kills becasue it can, it is most powerful, suggestion of the worlds most powerful.

Compares with...None, very differnt from all the other poems.

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Comments

chim

Thanks for posting this, you're my english lit hero . it's been really helpful seeing as I could actually finish analysing the poems that we didn't do in class by myself and the exams on thursday.

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