Mametz Wood

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"...wasted young..."
The description of 'wasted' sounds very insignificant - a) died too young and so their lives were pointless/ wasted b) referring to decay of the bodies. Using the word 'young' is very emotive - it suggests how unnatural it all is and the innocence.
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"...turning up under the plough blades..."
The phrase 'turning up' could refer to the monotony of war and 'plough blades' have sharp blades, which could reflect the brutality of war.
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"...as they tended..."
The word 'tended' is a very gently and caring word. It shows a high level of respect for the soldiers and it almost sounds maternal. The image suggests nursing something wounded.
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"...the land back into itself."
This shows how the earth can itself after being damaged by war but the soldiers can't.
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"A chit of bone, the china plate of a shoulder blade..."
'Chit' is very onomatopoeic - could again reflect the harshness of war. Using the word 'china' suggests how delicate and fragile lives are - lives are too easily broken; just like soldiers. A 'blade' in itself is well-crafted and holds value.
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"...the relic of a finger..."
The word 'relic' suggests something from the past - shows it has taken a long time to find the bodies. But this word is also associated with saints.
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"...the blown and broken bird's egg of a skull..."
The plosive here of 'bs' could reflect the sound of the bombs. The nature image here emphasises fragility and the animal of a bird is a symbol of freedom. The 'egg' suggests new life; young and fresh. The word is Jp to the word 'skull'-enj.=monotonos
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"...all mimicked now in flint..."
This shows that they are making history and leaving their mark but the phrase 'all mimicked' could shows that in death they are all the same = lost identity. 'Mimicked' means copying and could reflect how monotonous war is. 'Flint' - in layers=bodies
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"...walk, not run..."
This suggests that the soldiers were betrayed by their orders - it shows the dignity of the soldiers.
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"...nesting machine guns."
This is bird imagery again/ natural metaphor: a) taken care of by their country b) same on the enemies' side c) shows how weapons have a disturbing effect.
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"...the earth stands sentinel..."
The earth is personified here: a) the earth guards their memory by preserving their bones b) only the earth is watching over the bodies.
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"...reaching back into itself..."
The verb of 'reaching' could suggest that maybe it is ready for an explosion. The phrase of 'back into itself' echos the first stanza, which again reflects the monotony of war.
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"...reminders of what happened..."
This is open to alternative interpretation: a) insignificant war battle b) soldiers need reminding of their motives.
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"...like a wound working a foreign body to the surface of the skin."
The simile here links with the healing process in line 3 - it shows that the land is loyal to the native skin. The word 'foreign' could either be referring to germs or enemies. The fact that it is on the 'surface' could show how war is a disease.
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"This morning..."
This is open to alternative interpretation: a) maybe it is a pun, meaning 'mourning' b) a fresh start like morning - death is an escape.
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"...a broken mosaic of bone linked arm in arm..."
A 'mosaic' is beautiful and colourful; it represents a positive future but it is 'broken.' The phrase of 'arm in arm' gives an image of comradeship - they are forced to be together.
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"...their skeletons paused mid dance-macabre..."
A 'dance-macabre' is a medieval dance of death - shows the violence and maybe suggesting the entertainment of it all. Using the word 'mid' gives a sense of innocence - it was sudden.
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"...boots that outlasted them..."
This shouldn't normally happen; it hints at an untimely death - it is obvious that they have died young.
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"...their socketed heads tilted back at an angle..."
The 'socketed heads' reminds readers that they have decayed and about the skeletons. The phrase of 'tilted back at an angle' - Pose suggests fear and desperation and is an unnatural, graphic image of death.
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"...those that have them..."
This reminds readers of their horrific injuries and gives an awful image of violence.
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"...dropped open."
Does this mean: a) they were shouting b) mouths were open in horror c) shaking?
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"...the notes they had sung..."
The poem continues with the bird imagery here; again symbolising innocence and freedom.
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"...have only now..."
This emphasises the time it took for them to be discovered and remembered - only now are they being remembered.
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"...unearthing, slipped from their absent tongues."
The word 'unearthing' suggests discovering something from the past. The word 'slipped' creates a gently image - contrasts with the horrific description in the previous stanza.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"...turning up under the plough blades..."

Back

The phrase 'turning up' could refer to the monotony of war and 'plough blades' have sharp blades, which could reflect the brutality of war.

Card 3

Front

"...as they tended..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"...the land back into itself."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"A chit of bone, the china plate of a shoulder blade..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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