Discuss the thoughts and feelings you had as you read them, listened to them, learned about the poets and the reference in the poems, and considered the significance of the poems in our civilization’s perception of war.
It has aptly been d that war and bloodshed always bring death, destruction, and turmoil in their wake. Though almost all humans scare the ruination and chaos appear during and after the end of wars, yet being the most sensitive stratum of society, poets and writers maintain more vivid experiences the wars produce at the cost of thousands of precious human lives. Several poets, including Rose Macaulay in her poem “New Year 1918”, Virginia Woolf in her novel “Mrs. Dalloway” and others have portrayed the disorder and gloominess the war-afflicted societies undergo during the war; the same is also applied to the literary pieces under consideration.
Extracted from the maxim of ancient Rome Dulce et decorum est Pro Patria Mori “Dulce Et Decorum Est” serves as one of the most acknowledged poems created during WWI by the English soldier and poet Wilfred Owen. The poem emphatically elucidates the horrible consequences of war, which does not contain anything positive in its nature and scope altogether. Owen makes a morbid sketch of the life of soldiers, the hunched-back position of which in trenches could be compared to beggars and hags only (lines 1-3). Marching of the troops half asleep is just a drab and dull activity towards useless pursuits in the eyes of the poet, just inflict irreparable injuries and wounds because of the loss of some parts of their body while fighting for their fatherland. (lines 4-8). The soldiers’ limping with the boots soaked in blood and dirt, and bodies covered with bruises exhibit the ruins of wars and hostilities. The poem also presents the image of the soldiers’ staying away from the social fabric in aloofness and seclusion that produces gloominess, dreariness, and turbulence for them. Being a sensitive soul, Owen finds the war scrupulously a painful activity, which should never be communicated to the next generations with patriotic fervor and enthusiasm altogether (lines 26-28). The poem also represents Owen’s personal life, as not only this that he personally experienced all the curses war brings in its wake, but also he lost his life while fighting for the victory of his motherland against the enemies at the prime of his youth at the age of 25 years only. Consequently, he is justified in making a statement that war is just the devils sick of sin (line 21), which causes disabilities of many kinds of soldiers, as well as drowns them deep into the sea of death and destruction in the aftermath of it eventually.
The similar reflections have also been expressed about war by the contemporary era African American poet-soldier Yusef Komunyakaa in his free verse “Facing It.” He, while presenting his glimpses on the Vietnam War Memoir Day, symbolizes the soldiers with stones, which are perhaps deprived of the flesh and heart, and feelings and emotions attributed to all humans without discrimination. It is particularly the case with the black troops, the black complexion of whom, according to the poet could be compared with the black stones. Hence, here is irony in the verse, where it condemns the authorities’ act of compellingly pushing the soldiers to the warfare, which simply means commanding them to kill the fellow-beings in order to seek moaning supplication of the enemy of the nation, begging for peace ultimately. Komunyakaa also cites US President Andrew Johnson, who had played a vital role in the reconstruction of his country.
He also alludes to several objects of nature including sky, bird, ocean and depicts colors while elaborating the destructions and ruinations of war. The war also separates the lovers from one another and may cause even permanent parting between them because of the death of the soldier. Hence, the poet satires the war in a symbolic manner, and vehemently condemns the same for spreading hatred and making humans mere dear stones without having any feelings for others. Since he had also participated in the Vietnam War from the US side, he also had witnessed the blood and tears war produces out of it.
To conclude, it becomes evident that the views depicted by both the poets in their respective poems endorse the sentiments of the people belonging to all countries and states of the world at large. Both the poems maintain great significance in their theme and reflect the whims and wishes of the contemporary era masses for the sustenance of peace and harmony instead of bloodshed and hostilities. Since wars lead towards the killing of humans at the hands of their fellow-beings, they always end in pursuit of seeking peaceful measures for the same. Hence, both poems contain great sociological and cultural significance in their scope.
Komunyakaa, Yusef Facing it Retrieved
Owen, Alfred Dulce Et Decorum Est Retrieved