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Commentary on Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg

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Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg Isaac Rosenberg?s poem describes a day in wartime France. He wrote it in a trench, and posted it inside a letter to Eddie Marsh. His description hasn?t anything glorious or heroic. There?s no sentimentality or lust for glorious deaths, but only resignation and hope. He describes things simply as they are, reflecting his real-life experience through them. This poem is in free verse; there isn?t any regular metre or constant rhymes. This lack of metre and rhyme actually shows this real impression we have of the poet writing what he feels and without any restriction. ...read more.


Additionally, the ?p? alliteration of line 5 reminds the sounds of gunfire, and the poppy image is a strong symbol of war by its red colour representing blood. The voice becomes thereafter directed towards the rat. Indeed, when the soldier tells him that ?they would shoot [him] if they knew/ [His] cosmopolitan sympathies?, he means that if the soldier gave himself as much freedom as the rat has (especially fraternising with the enemy), he would be shot. In his poem, Rosenberg also mentions the German troops, but with a sense of equality; he says to the rat ?Now you have touched this English hand/ You will do the same to a German?, showing they?re all the same to the rat, i.e. ...read more.


In the last four lines, Rosenberg uses a metaphor: the poppies dropping and ?ever dropping? have a strong link with the soldiers, as they are dying, and ever dying. He then adds another ironic line: saying ?But mine in my ear is safe? is wrong because having plucked it from earth makes it die. Finally, the very last line opens the poem to the death in a certain way, because the whitening of the dust symbolises the beginning of his journey towards death. To conclude, Isaac Rosenberg pictures us through his poem the horror of life in the trenches during war; noise, death, decay and destruction were all around him, and he doesn?t fail to express the feeling of it. ...read more.

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