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C20th Poetry - The poems The Going of the Battery and Joining the Colours both contain some powerful images about the send-off given to soldiers on their way to war.

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Introduction

English Coursework C20th Poetry The poems The Going of the Battery and Joining the Colours both contain some powerful images about the send-off given to soldiers on their way to war. The poems are written from two separate viewpoints, and as a result many different emotions are described and communicated. Within both poems is an underlying sense of irony, which I find interesting, considering the poems are written to draw attention to the sadness and futility of war. The Going of the Battery (1) The Going of the Battery is written using the viewpoints of women watching their husbands leaving to war, and focuses on conveying their feelings. There are several striking contrasts running through the poem, which I feel are very interesting and thought provoking. A noticeable difference that appears early on is between the soldiers' and the wives' attitudes. The strength of the women's emotion communicates powerfully the image that going to war is a very difficult experience for those involved. They show sorrow, fear and also devotion for the men - they '...unblenchingly trudged on beside them through mirk and through mire," showing great love and loyalty which seems to go unnoticed. On the other hand, the men in this poem seem to have a certain eagerness about leaving to war, "...stepping steadily, only too readily," and are cold and unresponsive in their attitudes towards the women. ...read more.

Middle

At this point, the language becomes prominent and the tone of the poem changes to one of sorrow and emotion. The words and content are emphasised and the images are heightened, for instance "...at last moved away...all we loved." and "...evermore are they lost to us." The break in the rhythm accentuates the message of the poem and has a powerful effect. The rhyming scheme is also important and effective, enhancing the mood and flow of the words when combined with the rhythm. The regularity of the end rhyme, occurring in lines 2 and 4 in each stanza, contributes to the marching rhythm, but it is the internal rhyme within lines 1 and 3 that really stresses the beat. Each time internal rhyme is used, for instance "First to risk choosing them, leave alone losing them" the verse flows smoothly and an atmosphere is created making the poem seem jaunty and light-hearted. This combination of internal rhyme and strong rhythm makes the poem lilting and musical, and the mood becomes pleasant and positive. The musicality in The Going of the Battery is very obvious and effective, and techniques are used throughout the poem to reinforce and strengthen the rhythm. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rhythm in this poem is not as noticeable as in The Going of the Battery, but it still has a powerful effect in places. The rhythm in the poem is generally steady and continuous, a marching rhythm in relation to the content. It creates a mood that is upbeat, enhancing the image of soldiers being cheered and gaily going to war. However the last line of each stanza brings the rhythm to an abrupt standstill - it is much shorter and unexpected. This hesitation emphasises the ideas and images, and also the uncertainty concerning the future of the boys. It is like a reminder of reality and the true situation, opposed to the propaganda that promoted war and led to the celebrations. Joining the Colours has an underlying sense of doubt and uncertainty in it - the description of the soldiers going "into the dark" gives the impression that the soldiers are doomed and are going into an unknown and threatening situation. The phrase "love cannot save" also raises the question of what danger lies ahead, and the images of inevitability and loss are emphasised. In conclusion, although the poems The Going of the Battery and Joining the Colours are concerned with similar intentions, the contrasting focus and language techniques lead to many different effects. However, powerful use of imagery and rhythm give both poems the intense feeling of inexorability and loss. ...read more.

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