Analysing Poems in the conflict section
WHAT KIND OF CONFLICT?
FROM WHAT PERPECTIVE?-1st, 2nd, 3rd person - persona - present, past, future
HOW DOES IT EXPLORE CONFLICT? - attack on civilians, patriotism, aftermath, soldiers experiencing it first hand, scenes before war/leading up to it.
WHY HAS THE POET WRITTEN THE POEM?
WHAT ARE THE FEELINGS/MOODS?
HOW HAS THE POET COMMUNICATED THEIR IDEAS THROUGH THE STUCTURE, FORM AND TECHNIQUE USED?
Flag- John Agard
What's that fluttering in the breeze? - Present tense- an innocent image, pure and clean but also flimsy ad insubstantial.
It's just a piece of cloth- 'just' is degrading, this highlights how insubstantial the flag may seem.
that brings a nation to its knees. - The last line is powerful and very patriotic, it describes how a flag can represent a whole nation in war and the power it has over them. There is a sense of loyalty to the flag. This line contradicts the line above proving that it is not JUST a piece of cloth.
What's that unfurling from a pole? - each stanza opens with a question which is then answered.
It's just a piece of cloth
that makes the guts of men grow bold. - reference to soldiers fighting in battle, prepares them and encourages them to fight for their country.
What's that rising over a tent? - suggestion of military encampment
It's just a piece of cloth - insistent repetition asks us the question whether the flag really is just a piece of cloth- literally: yes metaphorically: no
that dares a coward to relent. - forces the coward to forgo his cowardliness and to either give him courgae or let him feel the weight of responsibilty and urge him to make a decision on whether to fight. The flag insights reaction. Scares the enemy.
What's that flying across a field? - battlefield
It's just a piece of cloth
that will outlive the blood you bleed. -confident future implies strength and immortality of the flag. Alliteration draws attention the the phrase, use of second person to involve the reader. Suggests people dying for their country and flag.
How can I possess such a cloth?
Just ask for a flag, my friend.
Then blind your conscience to the end.
THIS POEM HAS 5 STANZAS, IT IS IS PRESENT TENSE AND 1st PERSON. IT TALKS ABOUT BEING SUBMISSIVE AND LOYAL TO SOMETHING THAT SEEMS INSUBSTANTIAL BUT CARRIES THE WEIGHT OF A NATION AND ARMY BEHIND IT. THE POET WANTS TO QUESTION OUR LOYALTY AND PATRIOTISM, IT MAKES US THINK OF WHERE OUR LOYALTY CAN LEAD US AND HOW STRONG THE BONDS ARE. THERE IS ADMIRATION OF THE FACT THAT A FLAG CAN INSTIL THESE EMOTIONS, YET THERE IS ALSO AND IRONIC TONE- THE POET DOESN'T LIKE THE WAY A FLAG INDUCES THESE EMOTIONS. Look at the ambiguity of some of the statements, how can they be interpreted in different ways? Why does Agard choose to close the poem with the word 'end'? Does the problem lie in the flag or in the man's response to the flag?
Extract from - Out of the Blue - Simon Armitage
The title describes the perfectly blue skies of September 11th 2001, and the absolute suddenness of the attack.
1- 'you have picked me out'- directly addresses the reader, identifying the speaker in a specific context and establishing a particular relationship between victim and passive, powerless, horror-struck watcher.
4- 'a white cotton shirt is twirling, turning'- 'white' suggestive of innocence or surrender and peace.
5-6- Speaker introduced; very active 'waving, waving', but also with a sense of vulnerability 'small in the clouds' and of his own plight and doom 'a soul worth saving'.
9- 'So when will you come?'- reader put on the spot, sense of responsibility and futility.
10-12- 'Do you think you are watching, watching/ a man shaking out crumbs / or ******* out washing?' - invites us to consider our own response and acknowledge the victims.
13- 'trying and trying' - use of 'and' breaks pattern of poem and suggests determined .
15-16- Considers the psychological impact of the situation, the burning building, on the speaker; he is defiant but there is an ebbing hope.
17- 'A bird goes by'- illustrates height of the building
20- ' windmilling, wheeling, spiralling, falling'- list of verbs suggests long, plummeting fall of people falling from the building.
23- 'gills'- the Twin Towers had long vertical bars on the sides of the buildings, this is suggestive of fish gills, this fits with the theme of breathing. A fish out of water.
25- 'But tiring, tiring.'- end stopped line to indicate finality.
26-28 'wailing'- implies mourning starting already? The futile attempts to save the victims in the Towers. 'my love'- second person address becomes personalised; 'flagging'- ambiguity: waving or tiring?
THE EXTRACT FROM TE POEM HAS 7 STANZAS, IT SHOWS HOW IN THE MODERN WORLD CONFLICT IS NOT RESTRICTED TO A BATTLE FIELD. IT EXPLORES TERRORISM. AT THE START OF THE POEM IT EXPLORES THE WORLD OF A FINACIER WORKING IN THE TWIN TOWERS, HIS POWERFUL POSITION BEING REDUCED TO A CAPTIVE IN THE BURNING BUILDING. THE TONE OF THE EXTRACT IS DESPERATE AND PLEADING. THE POEM IS A DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE YET IT REFLECTS ON EVERYONE IN 9/11.
FIRST PERSON AND PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE- gives a sense of urgengcy. USE OF VARIED LINE- enjambment , fulls stops, to disorientating effect, suggesting the enormity of the situation, use of caesuras for powerful effect. USE OF REPETITION- of verb forms and particular words and sounds to emphasise situation. USE OF QUESTIONS- asks the reader why mankind behaves like this? what is our response to this?Has conflict become a media spectacle for entertainment? What is the terrorists intention?
Mametz Wood- Owen Sheers
For years afterwards the farmers found them- -Begins in past tense, dash signals a pause for impact before revealing who them refers to.
the wasted young, turning up under their plough blades- wasted young are the young soldiers whose lives were wasted unnecessarily
as they tended the land back to itself.- suggests need for healing.
A chit of bone, the china plate of a shoulder blade,- alliteration and consonance highlight metaphors for fragility.
the relic of a finger, the blown - it doesn't appear to be the same people in the ground, only the shell of what they once were.
and broken bird's egg of a skull-Fragility of human life.
all mimicked now in flint, breaking blue and white- links past with present
across the fields where they were told to walk, not run,- highlights the futility of the mission, at the mercy of leadership.
towards the wood and its nesting machine guns.
And even now the earth stands sentinel,-second use of now, poem shifts to present tense. Personifies the earth making it a watchful guardian
reaching back into itself for reminders of what happened- importance of not forgetting.
like a wound working a foreign body to the surface of the skin.- ironic similie, literally a foreign body.
This morning, twenty men buried in one long grave,- insistent reminder of present tense.
a broken mosaic of bone linked arm in arm,- whoever buried them thought to link their arms together to symbolise how the men died together joined by their profession. Brother in arms.
their skeletons paused in mid dance-macabre- a disturbing image
in boots that outlasted them,- shocking and poignant that boots, a inconsequential piece of clothing, should be more durable than the men. Cruel irony.
their socketed heads tilted back at an angle
and their jaws, those that have them, dropped open.- morbid fascination, hints at lack of voice- they had to take orders and not question them.
As if notes they had sung- poet offers his interpretation of what is being presented, musical image rather jarring
have only now, with this unearthing,- repetition of present tense
slipped from their absent tongues.- implies the message could easily be missed, final powerful image of loss.
THE POET DESCRIBES AN ENCOUNTER IN THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME, THE 38th WELSH DIVISION WAS ORDERED TO TKE THE WOOD HEAVILY FORTIFIED BY THE GERMANS, EVENTUALLY CAPTURED AFTER 6 DAYS, WITH OVER 4000 MEN KILLED AND INJURED. THERE IS NO PATTERN IN THE AMOUNT OF SYLLABLES IN EACH LINE, IT IS RANDOMLY PLACED LIKE THE BODIES SCATTERED IN THE BATTLEFIELD. IT EXPLORES THE FUTILITY OF WAR AND THE PERSONAL, RESPECTFUL TOUCH OF THE GRAVEDIGGER CLAIMING BACK THE MENS' LIVES. NOTE THE IMAGERY USED, CHANGE OF TENSE AND THE IMAGE OF SKELETONS AND JUXTAPOSITION OF OTHER IMAGES.
The Yellow Palm- Robert Minhinick
As I made my way down Palestine Street- reference to street in Baghdad in Iraq- conflicted country
I watched a funeral pass- - first image introduces death and its accompanying grief to the poem
all the women waving lilac stems - peaceful, soft image
around a coffin made of glass - glass represents fragility and serenity- you cant escape the image of death
and the face of the man who lay within
who had breathed a poison gas. - reference to possible experimentation on Kurdish people in Iraq, unconventional weapon, cowardly in the way that it is deceptive and remote- murder? Echo of previous conflicts ( WWII, gas chambers and gassing of Kurdish people in Iraq)
As I made my way down Palestine Street
I heard the call to prayer- reference to religion
and I stopped at the door of the golden mosque- sense of curiosity into the glorious, awesome mosque- the symbol of Islam - it gives us a strong visual image
to watch the faithful there- people praying, a normal everyday thing
but there was blood on the walls and the muezzin's eyes - the mosque attacked, the priest frantic yet trying to maintain a calm leadership
were wild with despair.- a juxtaposition of scenes, a mosque is a holy place of sanctuary yet it is evidence of conflict.
As I made my way down Palestine Street
I met two blind beggars - displaced people, poverty, had they been blinded?
And into their hands I pressed my hands - a sign of humanity, kindness, generosity and charity
with a hundred black dinars; - reference to the country and currency
and their salutes were those of the Imperial Guard- a sinister collection of soldiers under Sadam Hussain guilty of hideous atrocities- reference to conflict in politics
in the Mother of all Wars.- First Iraqi conflict, these beggars are loyal to the Imperial Guard, they have been reduced to beggars- no support from the system.
As I made my way down Palestine street
I smelled the wide Tigris, - trading river- life force running through Baghdad
the river smell that lifts the air
in a city such as this; - a negative statement
but down on my head fell the barbarian sun - relentless, strong, hot sun hard to bare, never stops.
that knows no armistice. - a sense of intensity in the heat of the conflict.
As I made my way down Palestine Street
I saw a cruise missile,- accurate remote weaponry, middle eastern reference.
a slow and silver caravan - use of sibilance (repeated 's' sound) to soften the sinister image
on its slow and silver mile, - nomadic
and a beggar child turned up his face - hardship of life portrayed through beggars, child has not concept of what he has seen, acceptance, is this his normality?
and blessed it with a smile. - innocence, naïvety.
As I made my way down Palestine Street
under the yellow palms - biggest exports, provides sustenance for Iraq
I saw their branches hung with yellow dates - bountiful, food, essential, income.
all sweeter than salaams,- salaams are greetings or blessings
and when the same child reached up to touch,
the fruit fell in his arms. - this could be a reference the tree being destroyed by the missile and the tree and fruit falling on the child or the fruit literally falling into the child's arms as the tree continues to provide in the face of relentless conflict.
THE POEM DEPICTS THE POET PROGRESSING DOWN THE STREET WITNESSING DIFFERENT SCENES, IT EXPLORES THE 'NORMALITY' IN CONFLICTED AREAS AND CONFLICT ON CIVILIANS. THERE ARE 6 STANZAS AND 6 LINES IN EACH. THEY START WITH EVERYDAY NORMALITY WHICH IS THEN PRECEDED BY A DISTURBING IMAGE.
The Right Word
Outside the door, - separate, apart and different.
lurking in the shadows , - suggestive of imminent danger, darkness and gloom, sense of things hidden and also not seen clearly
is a terrorist. - present tense
Is that the wrong description? - the poet's voice full of doubt.
Outside the door,
taking shelter in the shadows,
is a freedom-fighter. - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter- whats the difference? It depends on who's doorstep you are standing on
I haven't got this right.
Outside, waiting in the shadows, - unpleasant, waiting to do what?
is a hostile militant. - sinister threat, using shadows to hide.
Are words no more
than waving, wavering flags? - metaphor, alliteration, suggests shifting and moving but also a sense of being used to stake territory.
Outside your door,
watchful in the shadows,
is a guerilla warrior - tribal, dispersed soldiers- goes into hiding.
God help me. - a plea, but ambiguous, both as a poet and in the face of all these dangers
Outside, defying every shadow, - utter conviction of what they are doing is right they don't need shadows.
stands a martyr. - willing do die for a cause, extremist?
I saw his face.
No words can help me now. - ironic and helpless for a poet, also hints at the fear of the 'martyr'
Just outside the door, - term moves to a more unifying view.
lost in the shadows, - vulnerability, fear.
is a child who looks like mine. - poet begins to make a different perception
One word for you. - addresses reader directly and starts to find some resolution
Outside my door,
his hand too steady
his eyes too hard - some kind of training and experience, seen things a little boy shouldn't have
is a boy who looks like your son, too. - repetition of too and change of meaning, their sons can become this, you should let him in too. Involves the reader.
I open the door. - disarming them, letting defences down, scared yet shows compassion.
Come in, I say.
Come in and eat with us. - sense of security.
The child steps in
and carefully, at the my door,
takes off his shoes. - respectful, in the end there is no danger. Acceptance, it may prevent him from becoming some of the listed people.
THE POET BREAKS THE PATTERN TO EMPHASISE HER POINT, HOW HARD IT IS TO DEFINE SOMEONE THAT ALL PARTIES WILL FIND ACCEPTABLE. REPETITION AND CONTRAST OF IDEAS ALLOW THE WORDS TO GAIN MORE MEANING.'OUTSIDE' REPEATED INSISTENTLY AT THE START OF A NUMBER OF LINES, BECOMES THREATENING AND IS CONTRASTS 'IN' AT THE END OF THE POEM, SIGNIFYING A SHIFT FROM PROBLEM TO SOLUTION, FROM POLITICAL TO PERSONAL. SECOND PERSON INVOLVES THE READER IN THIS DEBATE.
At the Border, 1979- Choman Hardi
Title- the date suggests a real event but doesn't tell us what or where it is.
1- 'Its your last check-in point in this country!' the poem opens with direct speech, suggests excitement and the common belief that the grass is greener on the other side. 'soon everything would taste different' metaphorically: yes, literally: no. No logic
4-5- 'continued / divided' identifies the central idea, with the enjambment accentuating the paradox and asking whether the other side of the border is different. 'think iron chain' significant image, stron, firm and restrictive.
contrasts the childish innocence of the sister with the strictness of the guards, drawing attention to the absurdity of the border in reality.
11-14 - 'we are going home'- direct speech and italics emphasises importance 'she said' the mother's love of her home is clear but the reported speech carries a hint of irony. repetition of comparatives ' much cleaner', 'more beautiful'. 'much kinder' exposes it as opinion and prejudice.
15-16 'rain' undermines special excitement of returning home; in reality they are standing in the rain. 'I can inhale home' another absurdity, figuratively the reader can understand but literally it is ridiculous. 'i was five years old' a young child will not see the difference between one side and the other.
20 'autumn soil continued' the clear-sighted child compares the two sides and sees the lack of difference. There is a sense of tension.
25 'the chain was removed' finally the chain/ border is removed, two concluding images are juxtaposed- 'a man kisses his muddy homeland' while the girl sees a different chain with 'encompasses all of us' uniting rather than dividing and exposing of the smallness of the iron chain national border.
THE POETS VOICE QUESTIONS THE CONCEPT OF HOME AS A PARTICULAR PLACE. CONSIDER HOW HOME IS SHOWN AS IMPORTANT AND THE REASONS WHY THISIS THE CASE. THERE IS POWERFUL IMAGERY ESPECIALLY THE CHAIN- IT EMBODIES THE BORDER BUT ALSO IMPLIES THAT PEOPLE ARE ENSLAVED AT BORDERS IN THE END IT IS THE POWERFUL MOUNTAIN CHAIN THAT HOLDS EVERYONE TOGETHER . THERE IS USE OF DIRECT SPEECH THIS ENABLES THE POET TO CHALLENGE AND PRESENT A LIST OF VIEWS 'WE ARE GOING HOME' IS ITALICISED TO EMPHASISE THE INTRODUCTION OF HOME.
Belfast Confetti- Ciaran Carson
Suddenly as the riot squad moved in it was raining exclamation
marks, - no words for what has happened, extended metaphor.
Nuts, bolts, nails, car keys. A fount of broken type. And
the explosion - homemade bomb. introduces punctuation metaphor and literally typesetting metal used in bombs.
Itself- an asterisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst
of rapid fire... - enjambment throughout poem, ellipsis used illustratively, guns
I was trying to complete a sentence in my head, but it kept
All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and
colons. - the feeling of being trapped.
I know this labyrinth so well - Balaklava, Raglan, Inkerman,
Odessa Street - - odd that he should know Belfast so well and be lost- reference to British colonial history and futile battles and bad leadership. have not learnt from our mistakes.
Why can't I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street.
Dead end again. - asks himself a question, disorientation, nothing is recognisable.
A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-
talkies. What is - lists of body armour used by British forces, reference to riot squad
My name? Where am i coming from? Where am I going?
A fusillade of question marks - interrogation, everyone under suspicion, he feels under attack but from the bomb or the people policing the streets?
THE TITLE OF THE POEM IS AN OXYMORON AS THE TWO WORDS CONTRADICT EACH OTHER. THIS POEM IS ON ATTACK ON CIVILIANS IN BELFAST AS PART OF THE TROUBLES. NORTHERN IRELAND WAS A HIGHLY CONFLICTED AREA AS IT WAS PART OF THE UK YET SOME MEMBERS WANTED TO BE UNITED WITH THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND. A TERRORIST GROUP FORMED, THE I.R.A., THEY CAME TO ENGLAND AND ATTACKED HARRODS, CHELSEA BARRACKS AND KILLED MANY IMPORTANT BRITISH PEOPLE. THEY MAINLY USED HOMEMADE BOMBS MADE FROM VARIOUS PIECES OF METAL LISTED IN THE POEM. THE PUNCTUATION METAPHOR PLAYS WITH THE SHAPE OF THE 'EXCLAMATION MARKS' SUGGESTIVE OF FLIGHT AND PIECES OF SHRAPNEL, ALSO THE SCREAMS AND SHOUTS OF SURPRISE. THE ASTERISK HINTS AT AN EXPLOSION. PUNCTUATION CREATES INCREASINGLY SHORT SENTENCES GIVING A SENSE OF ENTRAPMENT. LISTS ARE USED TO SUGGEST A BLUR OF IMPRESSIONS AND PERHAPS THE CHAOS AFTER THE INCIDENT. CONSIDER HOW THE POET USES QUESTIONS AND ENJAMBMENT, WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF HIS? LOOK AT THEM METAPHORICALLY AND LITERALLY.
Poppies- Jane Weir
'on individual war graves' the poem focuses on specific but unnamed victims. 'spasms' hints at pain, 'blockade' military image intrudes upon recollection.
'Sellotape bandaged around my hand' mundane incidents of family life, with hint of wound and pain in 'bandaged'. 'steeled the softening' alliteration highlights mother hiding her emotions. 'my nose across the tip of your nose, play at being Eskimos' playfulness of the rhyme, carefree, 'we' the only use of we, the rest is separate 'i' or 'you'. 'flattened, rolled, turned into felt' metaphor, the process of felt making, applied to her crushed, compacted and intense feelings .
'slowly melting' enjambment emphasises imminent separation perhaps? 'I was brave' irony usually it's the son/soldier who is brave- highlights the poet's focus on the mother and other victims. 'A split second and you were away' image of departure from home and also abruptness of death. 'released a songbird from its cage' sense of emotional release tears from her heart; contrasts with earlier restraint. 'church yard walls' suggestive of graveyard. 'reinforcements' another military image highlighting mother's vulnerability.
'traced' another sensory image, also seeking. 'leaned against it like a wishbone' similie the shape leant against memorial, also perhaps two halves of wishbone to resemble mother and son. 'an ornamental stitch' metaphor of dove suggests peace would make the world a better, more beautiful place. ' your playground voice catching on the wind' innocent, seeking reassurance.
THE POEM IS DENSE WITH IMAGERY, TEXTILES FEATURES STRONGLY WITH THE CENTRAL METAPHOR OF FELT INDICATING THE WOMAN'S COMPRESSED AND COMPACTED FEELINGS. THE 'TUCK, DARTS, PLEATS' HINT AT THE CHANGES IN EMOTION AND ALSO THE IMAGE CONNECTING MOTHER AND SON. JUXTAPOSITION OF MILITARY IMAGES WITH DOMESTIC ONES. IT SUGGESTS INTRUSION OF WAR INTO HER LIFE. TONE- THE POEM IS AN ELEGY. IT'S SAD DESPAIRING TONE DERIVES FROM THE PAST TENSE, THE READER SEES THE MOTHER AS A VICTIM OF WARFARE AS WELL AS THE CHILD.
Futility- Wilfred Owen
Move him into the sun- ~ poem opens with an instruction in the present tense making it immediate, the sun with connotations of warmth and life is the central image of the poem.
Gently its touch awoke him once, ~ softness and kindness opposite of a battlefield, shift in tense contrasts battlefield with home.
At home, whispering of fields half-sown ~ reference to previous occupation as a farmer and the image of growth but unfulfilled.
Always it woke him, even in France. ~ repetition of the word 'woke' to emphasise that he will not wake again.
Until this morning and this snow. ~ repetition of 'this' and 'now' shows contrast between past and present. A cold image.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know. ~ personification of the sun.
Think how it wakes the seeds- ~ image of life and potential, the sun has the power to make seeds grow.
Woke once the clays of a cold star. ~ contrasts with warm/sun imagery, biblical reference.
Are limbs, so dear achieved, are sides ~ an appreciation of the value of life
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir? ~ yet why can't it bring a soldier back to life? The soldiers body is still warm, he has only just gone.
Was it for this the clay grew tall? ~ bitter question full of despair. Image of man evolving.
- O what made the fatuous sunbeams toil ~ asks why should the sun have ever woken them up? bitter and despairing tone.
To break earth's sleep at all? ~ poem ends by asking a series of rhetorical questions. Contrasts with wake; euphemism for death.
THE TITLE OF THE POEM IS FUTILITY, THE POEM EXPLORES THE HOPELESSNESS OF WAR, GRIEF AND LOSS BUT NOT THE HORROR AND VIOLENCE. THE POET USES PARARHYME THROUGHOUT THE POEM. THE IMPERFECT RHYME GIVES A DISCONCERTING TONE TO THE POEM. STANZA 2 USES RHETORICAL QUESTIONS TO INDICATE A SENSE OF CONFUSION, SEEKING SOME KIND OF UNDERSTANDING AND ALSO CHALLENGING THE CONCEPT OF WAR. THERE IS SIMPLE YET POWERFUL IMAGERY, THE SUN IS PERSONIFIED AS KIND AND NURTURING, AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF WAR IT IS MADE TO SEEM RIDICULOUS. THE POET ASKS 'WHAT MADE THE FATUOS SUNBEAMS TOIL' THE SUN IS BLAMED AT BRINGING ALL THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING BY BRINGING EARTH TO LIFE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
The Charge of the Light Brigade- Alfred Tennyson
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward, ~ repetition and powerful dactylic rhythm emphasise movement and energy.
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!' he said: ~ direct speech, the order.
Into the valley of Death ~ capitalisation of death and repetition intensifies image and the courage of the men.
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd? ~ rhetorical question implies unequivocal bravery
Not tho' the soldier knew ~ elision maintains rhythm
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die: ~ emphasises the role the soldiers had, their courage and honour to their duty.
Into the valley of Death ~ allusion to the psalm where faith instils courage in the face of death.
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them ~ anaphora suggests being surrounded,
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell, ~ assonance and alliteration evoke noise of battlefield
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death, ~ aggressive personification
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred. ~ repetition suggests unflinching nature of the soldiers.
Flash'd all their sabres bare, ~ onomatopoeic suggesting speed.
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd. ~ change of tone
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred. ~ repetition of not and variation of the final line highlight the sacrifice made.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them ~ echoes stanza 2 but now in retreat
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell ~ alliteration draws attention to the fact that soldiers are now referred to as heroes.
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred. ~ repetition of left and variation again highlight sacrifice.
When can their glory fade? ~ rhetorical question, Tennyson bestows glory on them.
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered. ~ repetition of this line from stanza 4 draws attention to the ambiguity: at the men's courage, at why the charge took place.
Honour the charge they made,
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred. ~ final line is an epitaph for the men.
THE RHYTHM GIVES THE POEM ITS ENERGY, IT IS LIKE A HORSE GALLOPING, THIS MATCHES THE THEME OF THE POEM. THE POEM HAS A DACTYLIC METER, A STRESSED SYLLABLE FOLLOWED BY TWO UNSTRESSED SYLLABLES. THERE IS MUCH ANAPHORA- REPETITION OF THE SAME WORD OR PHRASE AT THE BEGINNING OF LINES, BOTH TO EMPHASISE IDEAS AND TO EVOKE BATTLE. EACH STANZA ENDS WITH A VARIATION OF THE PHRASE 'SIX HUNDRED' THIS EMPHASISES THE SACRIFICE AND TRANSFORMATION INTO HEROES. THE POET PERSONIFIES DEATH CAPITALISING IT AND MAKING IT THE ENEMY, THIS HEIGHTENS THE BRAVERY OF THE MEN. IDENTIFY TECHNIQUES USED TO SUGGEST MOVEMENT.
Bayonet Charge- Ted Hughes
'suddenly' ~ abrupt beginning with the speaker's realisation of where he is. 'In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy' ~ warfare presented as an uncomfortable and unnatural thing. 'Stumbling' ~ movements are clumsy. 'rifle numb as a smashed arm' ~ violent and brutal image, ironically suggesting weapon is useless. '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 terror at the heart of his being.
He continues the breathless dash of the first sentence, miroring the charge, to end with a question asking what has brought him here, 'the hand pointing that second?'
'like / Statuary' ~ freeze the frame contrasts with the other stanzas, in its stillness; caesura creates pause giving time for both soldier and the reader to ask why he is there and highlighting the return to the chaos of the battlefield.
'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. 'King, honour, human dignity, etcetera' ~ this list of noble motives for battle and patriotism is sharply undermined by the addition of 'etcetera' exposing them as merely words, an idea reinforced by the similie 'Dropped like luxuries' ~ they are fine in theory, but useless in the reality of war. Ultimately the only thing which may save the soldier is his fear and instinct to escape danger.
THE POET USES ONOMATOPOEIA, ALLITERATION AND ASSONANCE TO BRING THE IMAGES TO LIFE. THE CENTRAL CLOCK METAPHOR ASKS WHY HE IS HERE NOW AND WHY EVERY SOLDIER IS THERE. THE SECOND STANZA IS A FROZEN MOMENT, SEARCHING FOR A REASON BUT FINDING NONE. THE POEM RELIES HEAVILY ON IMAGERY: THE INJURED HARE, 'ITS MOUTH WIDE / OPEN SILENT' SUGGESTS DESPERATION, DESPAIR, PLEADING BUT IT IS LOST IN THE CLAMOUR OF BATTLE. EXPLORE HOW THE POET DISMISSES THE CONVENTIONAL CONCEPTS USED TO JUSTIFY FIGHTING FOR ONE'S COUNTRY.
The Falling Leaves November 1915- Margaret Postgat
Today, as I rode by, ~ present tense adds urgency and relevance
I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree ~ introduces first hint of death
In a still afternoon, ~ peaceful scene, ironic that it leads to thoughts of death, perhaps stillness suggests death
When no wind whirled them whistling to the sky, ~ alliteration highlights tranquility
But thickly, silently, ~ apply to leaves, snowflakes and soldiers
They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon; ~ simile suggests fragility, violent phrase
And wandered slowly thence
For thinking of a gallant multitude ~ acknowledges soldiers bravery
Which now all withering lay, ~ alliteration, contrasts between energy of line 4 and death and decay of this line.
Slain by no wind of age or pestilence, ~ killed deliberately, not by old age or of natural causes. Does this shy away from the brutality of war?
But in their beauty strewed ~ beauty seen as their youth, they died too young.
Like snowflakes falling on Flemish clay. ~ repeated simile here suggests soldiers will melt and disappear, be lost ad forgotten. Location as reference to battlefield.
THE POEM IS WRITTEN IN A SINGLE LONG SENTENCE, SUGGESTIVE OF THE POET'S DEVELOPING TRAIN OF THOUGHT.THERE IS A TURNING POINT LINE 6 WHERE THERE IS A COLON WHERE THE POET MOVES INTO TALKING OF SOLDIERS. THIS CHANGE IS REFLECTED IN NEW RHYMES IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE POEM. THE IMAGERY IS VERY EVOCATIVE, SNOWFLAKES APPEAR TWICE, FIRST AS A SIMILE FOR THE LEAVES, SECONDLY AS A SIMILE FOR THE SOLDIERS. THE POET USES REPETITION TO PURSUE IDEAS: 'NO WIND' THE FIRST TIME IS DESCRIPTIVE OF THE UNNATURAL LEAF FALL; THE SECOND TIME USED METAPHORICALLY, REFERRING TO THE SOLDIER'S UNNATURAL DEATHS.
'Come On, Come back'- Stevie Smith
'Austerlitz'- site of a famous victory for Napoleon, linking past and future to suggest the poem is about all conflict.
'girl soldier Vaudevue' ~ sits on the battlefield, abandoned and alone, the name futuristic and age surprising.
vaudevue is a victim of M.L.5 a name of Zylon B, the gas used in concentration camps. this unspecified weapon is cruelly efficient 'first / Of all human exterminators' the shocking image making it seem a cold killing machine.
'Memel Conference' ~ reference highlights the suggestion of 20th century atrocities.
'rutted meadow' ~ Vaudevue embarks on a journey across a broken landscape to a lake, which is also a journey towards her death.
'as a child, an idiot, as one without memory' ~ the striking list of similes, all indicating innocence and a lack of self-awareness, show how war has diminished and destroyed her. 'strips her uniform off' ~ removing her identity as a soldier, to plunge into the welcoming/threatening lake: it is both 'black' and 'white'. 'the icy waters' ~ offering oblivion.
The waters 'close above her head' and death has taken her in its 'icy-amorous embrace' there is ambiguity of death here, it is frightening, but also perhaps an escape from pain and suffering.
Meanwhile, an anonymous 'enemy sentinel' finds her clothes and awaits her return. 'Whittling a shepherd's pipe' ~ he has time, he can wait.
With his pipe he plays 'the familiar tune' - 'Come on, come back' ~ a song popular with the troops, the sentiment of which is clear from the title. The final lines are in the past tense, emphasising Vaudevue has gone, and the final 'Come on, come back' is a forlorn call.
THE IMAGE OF THE LAKE IS THE MOST DEVELOPED AND AMBIGUOUS PART OF THE POEM. REPRESENTING HER MIND AND SYMBOLISING DEATH. THE POEM IS A SIMPLE NARRATIVE FREE VERSE. THE LONG SENTENCES ALLOW THE POEM TO AMASS A NUMBER OF IDEAS AND IMAGES AROUND THE CENTRAL FIGURE AND PERMIT THE READER TO MAKE CONNECTIONS. REPETITION IS USED TO IDENTIFY KEY IDEAS. 'OMINOUS', 'WHITE MOONLIGHT' THE 'EMBRACE' OF THE WATER.
next to of course god america i- E.E. Cummings
"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by ge by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed in like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"
He spoke, And drank rapidly a glass of water.
THERE IS NO PUNCTUATION OR STRUCTURE, IT IS MADE FROM POSITIVES FROM MOTIVATIONAL SPEECHES PUT TOGETHER. THE POLITICAL RHETORIC STOPS MAKING SENSE. IT IS PATRIOTIC TO THE EXTREME THERE IS A SLIGHT RHYMING PATTERN. THE POEM IS MOCKING POLITICAL LEADERS SPEECHES THAT RELY HEAVILY ON PATRIOTISM. THE POEM QUESTIONS YOUR PATRIOTISM, LOYALTY AND ALLEGIANCE.
Hawk Roosting- Ted hughes
'Is it in the top of the wood' ~ focus solely on the hawk's point of view; it is from the hawk's perception of the world and itself that the reader draws an idea of the hawk's nature. 'no falsifying dream' ~ shows it is fully alive in a real world. 'Between my hooked head and hooked feet' ~ repetition highlights its cruel shape.
Everything is there for the benefit of the hawk- even the personified earth looks up to the bird, emphasising its strength an power
capitalisation of 'Creation' turns the hawk into a godlike power. 'I hold Creation in my foot' ~ now he commands everything, taking precedence over God.
'revolve it all slowly' ~ such is the hawk's arrogance that from its perspective it turns and controls the world. 'it is all mine' ~ arrogant attitude of ownership; the hawk believes this gives it the right to 'kill where I please'. From here the imagery becomes increasingly brutal.
'No arguements assert my right'~ the hawk just is powerful, and draws pride and satisfaction from its unchallenging position. It will do whatever has to be done to maintain that position.
'The sun is behind me' ~ again placing the hawk in a position of pre-eminence, literally and metaphorically. in lines 21-24 there is a series of statements emphasised in their authority by the end stopped lines which pre-empt argument.
THE POET USES A PARTICULAR REGISTER TO CREATE THE HAWK'S VOICE, MIXING SIMPLE DIRECT LANGUAGE WITH MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED VOCABULARY, THIS IMPLIES AUTHORITY AS LANGUAGE CAN BE USED AS A WAY TO ASSERT POWER. REPETITION OF PERSONAL PRONOUNS THROUGHOUT THE POEM EMPHASISE THE HAWK'S ARROGANCE. THE POEM IS AN EXTENDED METAPHOR OF POWER, THE HAWK REPRESENTING ANY CRUEL POLITICAL OR MILITARY LEADER WHO ACTS OUT TO BENEFIT THEMSELVES RATHER THAN THEIR COUNTRY. THE POEM EXPLORES THE REASONS IN WHICH WE GO TO WAR, USUALLY INFLUENCED BY OUR LEADERS WHO WE HAVE TO FOLLOW. HAWK ROOSTING EXPLAINS REASONS FOR CONFLICT RATHER THAN THE UPSET OF CONFLICTS.