Possibly the most famous quote from world war poetry. It was used by Wilfred Owen. It is in Latin and translates to “It is sweet and honourable to die for your country. It was written by a famous Roman poet called Horace. To understand this poetry I have to understand why people write poetry at this time. The main reasons is it is a very emotional time and people turn to poetry to try and convey their feelings. These might be pride and honour, or horror, pity and disgust. They may be trying to tell the public about their ordeals but the might be talking to a specific person or group of people.
I am going to look at three different poems conveying three very different views. Subject Matter In the poems the poets talk about many different aspects of war. The Charge of the Light Brigade is about one of the greatest blunders of the British military history. Although lots of soldiers died he glorifies them for there bravery. During the Crimean war there was a misunderstanding in the orders that intended a brigade of cavaliers to take a few of the outer guns of the main Russian Army.
This completely misunderstood and the platoon were sent to there deaths charging at the main army. Despite this was still seen as an act of bravery. Dulce et decorum est is about the horrors of trench warfare during world war one. He describes the death of a man walking back to the camp to rest. He is speaking to everyone who tried to glorify the war, especially when they had never been there themselves as he had. In the Icraus Allsorts poem Roger McGough talks about the possibility of a nuclear war, and the destruction of the world.
He shows how stupid the idea of all of the major countries killing each other just because they think they could be being attacked. Language The language used by the poets is very different. Owen uses very vivid language. Owen does this to bring a atmosphere of shock, fear and death to his work. He does this by describing the scenes very accurately and sometimes gruesomely the things he witnessed. He also refers to the soldiers as “drunk with fatigue” not the sort of soldiers in bright shining uniform that the soldiers were presented as before.
The way he describes the events must not be too far from the truth as they are so horrible. He describes a man dying from gas poisoning in a terrible way “… like a man in fire or lime… ” and “… drowning under a green sea… ” He also very clearly puts his ideas across of all the terrible things that he saw. He tried to show the people who were at home that the propaganda that they were fed was completely untrue. In Dulce Decorum Est he especially tries to get over the unimportance of the dead. He Describes a dead man being slung on to the back of a cart.
In “The Charge of The Light Brigade” the poet, Alfred Tennyson, uses very glorifying words and language that makes them sound like hero’s when in fact they were slaughtered by artillery fire. He tries to make out that the soldiers were shining knights. He keeps referring to the enemy as “The Valley of Death” and “Hell” and “the Jaws of Death”. This is also propaganda as well, as the Russians want to fight just as much as the English soldiers. Who would choose war over peace? In Icarus Allsorts it has a very childish rhythm which disguises a very serious matter.
He uses this very effectively the Form The poems are very different in rhythm and rhyme. The Charge of the Light Brigade is written to a beat like horses’ hooves, and the bangs of the guns. He is trying to make the reader feel as if he is there and not just reading about it. He himself wasn’t actually there so he doesn’t know for sure that how he writes it is exactly right. Dulce Est Decorum Est is very unorganised and just presents his thoughts. He writes as his thoughts come into his head and not planning them.
He does this hoping that he will be able to get his feelings of anger and pain as he saw his friends and comrades being shot and worse. He wants the British public to see what is really happening and not what the government propaganda that they are being fed says. I feel that this poem does that particularly well. When he says “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest” Owen is saying that the people at home would not say that the war is a good thing if they had been to the trenches, or seen the things had. Icarus Allsorts by Roger McGough is a very powerful poem.
It uses a happy bouncy beat to hide a very hard hitting message about how close the world is to a nuclear war, and how that each country has people that would do be prepared to push the button without being sure that they were being attacked. The way he writes it has the kind of bounce that a nursery rhyme has. Conclusion In conclusion I prefer Icarus Allsorts as it is similar to lots of songs. It tricks the reader into thinking that it is a happy poem but if you read it closely it has a very serious core. It is critical of governments of having nuclear weapons but now it is impossible do disarm them now as now no-one knows who has got them.