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War Poetry

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Poetry is an art form and therefore must do something that all art does - represent something in the world, express or evoke emotion, please us by its form, and stand on its own as something autonomous and self-defining. Wordsworth described it as "emotion recollected as tranquillity" and "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" and there is no area of human experience that has created a wider range of powerful feelings than that of War: hope, fear, exhilaration and humiliation but to name a few. There are many poems that back War patriotically; they support it, and they impose it upon the younger generation, Winston Churchill said, "Battles are won by slaughter and manoeuvre. The greater the general, the more he contributes in manoeuvre, the less he demands in slaughter." However there are others that are completely against the bloodshed; people like John Scott who composed the poem The Drum. In the poem he describes how much he hates the noise that the drum makes to call up young men to fight. Meanwhile there are poems that convey the idea of fighting as a vocation, an instinct that is in the blood of men, which they cannot help. On the Idle Hill is one of these poems; it was composed during peacetime in the mid -1800's and is pre - American Civil war. ...read more.


Yeats then justifies why he [the pilot] is taking part in the War. "A lonely impulse of delight", is his motivation. The word delight brings optimism into the poem and amplifies the aviator's adventurous nature as this life in the clouds gives him an intense feeling he had never had before. This is similar to the final line in On the Idle Hill -"Woman bore me, I will rise" and expresses the need for excitement and thrill. This is the aviator's first irrational reason. "Drove to this tumult in the clouds," the word 'tumult' contrasts with the word 'lonely' this illustrates to the reader that although he is alone in the clouds he is companied with the noise of his aircraft and the sound of gunfire. The word 'tumult' is juxtaposed with 'clouds' to form the idea of heaven. "I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, a waste of breath the years behind, In balance with this life this death." Repetition is used regularly with 'the years...' and 'waste of breath...' repeated several times in a short space to add to the slow, logical style of the poem. It makes the final four lines sound like the pilot is psyching himself up to go on a mission which could be his last. ...read more.


It was a sunrise such as the world had never seen, a great green super sun climbing in a fraction of a second to a height of more than eight thousand feet, rising ever higher until it touched the clouds, lighting up earth and sky all around with dazzling luminosity. Up it went, a great wall of fire about a mile in diameter, changing colours as it kept shooting upward, from deep purple to orange, expanding, growing bigger, rising as it was expanding, an elemental force freed from its bonds after being chained for billions of years." Out of all the poems my favourite was An Irish Airman Foresees his Death this was my favourite as it approached a serious issue in a carefree manner. I especially liked the way he expressed the pilot's incentive as a "lonely impulse of delight". The adjectives that Yeats uses create a dreamy atmosphere and that makes it more enjoyable to read. For years war and poetry has gone hand in hand and it is through sonnets and ballads that many truths have been revealed to world about war. Some might say poetry is a more romantic way of expressing feelings or is it because reading between the lines is easier in a simple stanza. Whatever it is War captures the imagination of every poet, whether it is Hitler or Hiroshima, or be they for or against the bloodshed: ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR ...read more.

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