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Poetry of the first world War

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Dawn Dunston Assignment One Poetry of the First World War 1914 to 1918 World War One, also known as The Great War took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. It claimed the lives of millions and resulted in millions of casualties. It is all too often forgotten but when remembered, it is remembered with great sadness. It is hard to imagine that anything beautiful could materialize from this horrific conflict but something did. It inspired and produced some of the Worlds most famous poets who wrote powerful poems about the everyday reality of this epic event. The three poems that I will analyse for this essay are 'War Girls' by Jesse Pope, 'Breakfast' by Wilfred Wilfred Gibson and 'There will come soft rains...' by Sara Teasdale. All three poems depict their inner feelings and own personal views of the war and their views are conveyed with the use of powerful imagery. As the title suggests in Pope's 'War Girls' the poem is about the lives of woman during World War One. The characters are addressed as girls 'the motor girl', 'the butcher girl', giving an image of these woman being very young but very mature. ...read more.


The tempo is steady and slow, which gives the poem an air of melancholy. These men shared strong camaraderie, the lines, 'I bet a rasher to a loaf of bread that Hull United would beat Halifax', describe how these men tried to bring a sense of normality into their dreadful and most often, short lived lives. This banter amongst the men conjures up an image of home in the North of England and men playing football, something that would have once been a part of these men's life's. One character has been given a nickname, 'Ginger raised his head', which immediately personalises the character giving the reader an image of him. Sound is conveyed through the use of onomatopoeia in the line, 'shells screeching overhead' we can hear the danger these men faced day in and day out. This danger is evident in the lines, 'and took the bet; and dropt back dead.' The last three words 'dropt back dead', have been given such impact and the use of alliteration emphasises the harshness. This is a tragic ending but an everyday occurrence for these men in the trenches who lived day in and day out amongst rats that fed on the flesh of the dead. ...read more.


It sums up in the most astounding way, natures utter distain for the endeavours of human kind. All three poets were alive during the war, therefore were in some way touched by the atrocities. All poems have a war theme but they are told from different perspectives. In my opinion Popes 'War Girls' was written in honour of woman as a form of adulation. It illustrates the significance of woman and the roles they played up until, 'the khaki soldier boys came marching back'. The life's these woman endured was extremely difficult but cannot be compared to the lives of the soldiers in the trenches portrayed by Gibson in 'Breakfast'. I think Gibson's intention was to portray the intense pain and suffering of the ordinary foot soldiers, living extraordinary life's. Teasdale takes a more cynical approach in that nature will not only endure but will carry on without even noticing, 'that we were gone'. I find it difficult to share Teasdale's view of the irrelevance of mankind but it is however, my preferred poem. I feel that it was the most descriptive and it also contained the most emotive language, using beautiful lyrical tone and rhythm style. ...read more.

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