English Conflict Poetry

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THE RIGHT WORD - Imtaiz Dharker

Subject Matter 

  • How we see and label other people.
  • How those people may see and label themselves.
  • Son coming back from war/terroist coming bac from war

Form

  • Describes one event accuratly

Language 

  • Simple and strightforward
  • "outside", "lurking", "terroist", "hostile", "warrior" - negative words
  • "taking shelter", "freedom-fighter", "child", "boy" - postive words 
  • both decribe the same person
1 of 15

OUT OF THE BLUE (Extract) - Simon Armitage

Subject Matter

  • Person in one of the twin towers
  • Despair, horror, insignificance, death, helplessness

Form

  • 7, 4 line stanzas
  • Short lines indicate panic

Language

  • "twirling, turning" - gentle movements something so small in a sea of panic
  • "a sould worth saving?" - questions himslef whether he is worth the trouble and is losing control of his emotions
  • "******* out washing" - ordinary acts contrast to the terror unfolding
  • "trying and trying" - not giving up on life, fighting for life
  • "Do you see me my love. I am failing, flagging." - given up, lost the will to live
2 of 15

MAMETZ WOOD - Owen Sheers

Subject Matter 

  • Scene of fierce fighting during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.
  • Farmers digging up the remains of the battle

Form

  • Past tense 
  • 3 line stanzas x7

Language

  • "wasted young" -talking about conscription and hope the soliders had
  • "china plate of a shoulder blade" - metaphor, saying that the soliders lives are precious
  • "broken bird's egg of a skull" - fragile more nature imagery
  • Nature imagery throughout
3 of 15

FLAG - John Agard

Subject matter:

  • Flag explores how national symbols bind nations together – and in doing so also force people apart. Flags do not represent anything real at all. 
  • How the flag is powerful and can make or hyponitse people to oing it's will.

Form:

  • Two voices - first asks a question, second reponds
  • Repeated line "it's just a peice of cloth"
  • end of sentence with dramatic contrast to the simplicity of the flag

Language:

  • "just a peice of cloth" - something so simple cna have such a big effect
  • "fluttering", "unfluring", "flying" - gentle sounds 
  • "blind your conscience" - doesn't matter if it is right or worng
  • "to it's knees", "guts grow bold", "dares", "blood you bleed" - violent imagery, contrasts with gentle imagery 
4 of 15

THE YELLOW PALM - Robert Minhinnick

Subject Matter

  • Criticism of human behaviour being damaging 
  • Confusion between beauty and violence
  • Detatchment and division 
  • Bagdad capital of Iraq during war

Form 

  • Form of a ballad
  • Lively rhymes contrast with content
  • Last stanza changes tone of the poem with th efruit falling in his arms

Language

  • Contrast to show confusion
  • Juxtoposed in first stanza "poison gas"
  • Powerful imagery to religion and war
5 of 15

AT THE BORDER 1979 - Choman Hardi

Subject Matter

  • The poem is set at the border of Iran, 1979.
  • A family or coach of people trying to cross the borde, to escape a war
  • The children are excited, parents nervous

Form

  • No set form
  • Many of the lines end in some form of puncuation
  • 4 different perspectives

Language

  • Dialgoue
  • Happy and excited and hyperbolic, turns to anticlimax and dissapointment
  • The poem doesnt use poetic language but uses connotations (borer could mean physical or the border between life and death, youth and age, innocence and experience 
6 of 15

BELFAST CONFETTI - Ciaran Carson

Subject Matter

  • Loss of identity
  • Dublin bombings

Form

  • Fragmented structure
  • All lines vary in length
  • Heavly puctuated to match the imagery

Language

  • Metaphors "an asterisk on the map"
  • Use of punctuation imagery "it was raining exclamation marks"
  • Questions himself - doesn't know anything
  • All language is aggressive
7 of 15

POPPIES - Jane Weir

Subject Matter

  • Set in present day
  • Mother remembers her son
  • Uses the poppies of WW1 to remember him

Form

  • Strong regular sense of form
  • However lots of ceasura and enjambment 

Language 

  • Restrained rhyme - lively
  • Image of a bird for her son
  • Makes her son's death sweeter and gentler but with undertones of violence
  • Memories of childhood
8 of 15

FUTILITY - Wilfred Owen

Subject Matter 

  • From Hope to Despair
  • Futlity is the quality of having no useful result

Form

  • 14 lines makes it a sonnet
  • Anger in the retorical questions
  • Half rhymes

Language

  • Starts positive and blunt and simple
  • "cold star" oxymoronic
  • Then becomes negative as moves on
  • Disjointed
9 of 15

THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE - Alfred Tennyson

Subject Matter

  • Obedience, partiotism
  • Disbelief, and sacrafice

Form

  • Dactylic metre
  • Repeated lines in each stanza
  • Strong rhythem matches energy of the horses

Language

  • Patriotic
  • Multiple triplets
  • Negative imagery of death
  • Lots of siblance 
  • Sadness of the death then honours them "noble"
10 of 15

BAYONET CHARGE - Ted Hughes

Subject Matter

  • A young boy who doesn't fit the role of a solider
  • Descibes the solider going one the top to fix the bayonets sending him to death
  • Decribes how war turns a person into a weapon

Form

  • Length of lines varies a lot
  • The first stanza is all about action and running

  • The second stanza therefore happens in a kind of slow-motion

  • The second half of line 15 breaks this spell and he knows he has to rush, without thinking, towards his death in the final stanza.

Language

  • "raw" decribes soliders uniform and how the solider doesnt fit his new uniform he shouldnt be there
  • Confusing imagery and patriotic
11 of 15

THE FALLING LEAVES - Margret Postgate Cole

Subject Matter

  • Woman sees leaves falling from a tree
  • They remind her of soliders dying

Form

  • 12 lines split into 2 parts
  • First part is what she sees second is what she is remided of
  • All one sentence

Language

  • Natural imagery
  • Gentle sounding words
  • Odd violent words 
12 of 15

COME ON COME BACK - Stevie Smith

Subject Matter:

  • Future war one girl solider
  • Wiped memory commits suicde
  • One song that unites all soldiers on both sides

Form:

  • Free verse
  • Story of events
  • Feels like a disjointed dream

Language:

  • Oxmoronic
  • Gentle and peacful
  • Impact of war on metal health
13 of 15

next to of course god america i - E.E. Cummings

Subject Matter:

  • Mocking patrotism
  • Speaker is an obsverver of a drunk man

Form:

  • Sonnet - saying love to his country mocking the war
  • Grammer is strange want to disregaurd what hes saying
  • Had to say out loud

Language:

  • Bitter tone
  • Mispronouced some words (gorry)
  • Rushed 
  • Violent imagery 
14 of 15

Hawk Rooting - Ted Hughes

Subject Matter:

  • Metaphor for a polition or goverment watching the war
  • Playing God in conflict
  • Being aggressive to other countries saying violence is the only way

Form:

  • Strong form to express control
  • The first two stanzas are about his physical superiority 
  • Stanzas three and four reveal his power of nature, and how he holds everything, including life and death, in his claws.
  • The final two stanzas form a kind of justification for his actions. 

Language:

  • Sound (ee) echos throughout the poem
  • Simple powerful words
15 of 15

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