We indeed know that people during both of the wars seen and committed terrible things to their fellow man. It is also said that what the people at home, away from the fighting, also felt some harsh emotions. Whether their son, father or relative would get back in one piece. These emotions were very hard to deal with and people dealt with them in different ways. Some talked to friends while other preyed. Some writ their emotions down on paper and gave us some of the most emotional and stunning pieces of writing ever and this is what I’m going to study.
An ideal piece that coincides with my statement above is the ater cenotaph written by Ursula Roberts. The poem is set in a busy high street and is from the perspective of a woman sitting in a bus, seeing out of the window. The poem is written in free verse and involves a great deal of dialect to add personality to the poem. We can clearly see her view toward the death’s war has provided in line 17 when she comments “I wouldn’t’. ” Roberts is writing here about maybe an incident she saw on a bus or maybe her own view, that we do not know.
But what is very clear throughout all of the poems is that no one agrees with the extreme violence carried out for good reason. Mary Hershel-Clarke writ her feelings how death was so commonplace at that time, that papers didn’t report on it anymore. This was completely wrong in Herscel-Clarkes point of view who clearly valued life greatly. We see her view in the short but moving poem “Nothing to report”. Although only 3 lines long she transfers her view to the reader very easily by being very matter of fact.
Also to make sure the poem recollects to you, she adds a very basic rhyme scheme in that the last word of every line rhymes with the previous. Above all the poem is very blunt and this is what transfers her feelings so effectively. Another author who uses this method is Porter. He has written the ordeals of Aushwitz (A Nazi concentration camp) so bluntly that people immediately take notice. This is because the procedures that took place their were shocking enough to grab peoples attention and he didn’t soften it up in any way.
We see this in the opening line, which is “When the burnt flesh is finally at rest” Burnt human flesh is just a shocking image to think of but this happened widely in camps such as these and was common place. An even more disgusting and horrific example is when the man is in a hospital nd views the doings of a man that has gone insane. “A man is eating his dressing in the hospital” We don’t know what role the injured and mentally ill man had in Aushwitz whether he was a Jew, prisoned in Aushwitz or one of the first soldiers in their but the views he had whitnessed had sent him into insanity.
Porter puts feeling into his writing by adding personification or giving things human qualities. He does with the toothbrush, which grows a cuticle and Europe’s gut. Porter also gives a shocking image in stanza 6 of possible reasons. He says earlier in he poem a somewhat confusing statement in that if one person dies it doesn’t matter but if thousands or in this case hundreds of millions are killed we have to take note. This can not be true as surely one death is surely bad enough. A worrying thought comes to mind when the later of stanza 6 is read.
When I salt the puny snail – cruelty’s grown up And waits for time and men to bring into its hands The snails adagio and all the taunting life Which has not cared about or guessed its tortured scope” When read, this seems as normal as the poems gets but when we dig deeper we find another message. Porter is in fact saying that when we salt snails, because it is only a small creature and its small cruelty it doesn’t matter? Because it can’t scream in agony or cry it’s insignificant? Porter is saying we all have the potential to kill, just that most of us know where to draw the line.
Unlike Hitler we knew boundaries but if like Hitler we looked at the Jews as snails would we care at all? Feelings like this, which are buried deep in a poem, gives it life and this is Porter’s way of articulating emotions. The Falling Leaves is also full of emotion although made in a different time period. Cole’s poem comments on the losses of the First World War and articulates her feelings using metaphors. The most obvious of these is located in the title. She likens the leaves, which have fallen to the soldiers that have fallen on the battlefields.
Another major metaphor in the writing is located in the last line when she states “Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay” Cole isn’t suddenly talking about the weather or pottery but the soldiers falling like snowflakes In Belgium. (Clay being the land) Cole also makes the poem very personal by using the pro-noun “I” which gives that impression. There are two examples found of this located at the very start of the poem to give that impression. What is different with Coles poem to the previous I have mentioned, is that Cole says a lot more than she has written.
If we read between the lines of the poem and interpret these we find some very interesting thoughts. For example line 10 comments on how leaves (being soldiers) haven’t been killed by the wind or age (natural causes) but by war. Also we see a faith side to Cole when we see Clay at the end of line 10. It is written in the bible that god made man out of clay and when he ies that’s where he will return hence the ashes to ashes and dust to dust and this is where Cole has located this from.
In conclusion all the poets or authors in the anthology or who have written any media about war have chosen to articulate their feelings toward this subject in this way. Whether they have used harsh abrasive language, metaphors, tools like alliteration or euphemisms doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we take heed from what the majority say and learn from the mistakes we have made so atrocities like those which have been served in the past, don’t ever happen again.