Conflict Poetry Practice Question
Compare how poets present the effects of conflict in ‘Belfast Confetti’ and one other poem.
‘Belfast Confetti’ by Ciaran Carson and ‘Bayonet Charge’ by Ted Hughes both present ideas about the confusion and terror experienced by individuals in the middle of violence. Belfast Confetti is set in Northern Ireland during a period known as ‘The Troubles’ and follows the experiences of a civilian caught amongst the chaos. In comparison, Bayonet Charge is set in the First World War as a soldier races towards battle.
Both poems begin in the middle of the action. The first line of Bayonet Charge is “Suddenly he awoke and was running”. This gives the poem a sense of immediacy as the character is already in full motion charging to battle. However, he is said to have only just woken making it seem as if he is in a vulnerable confused state. It also proves that the situation is real, and not a nightmare as the soldier may believe. Similarly, Belfast Confetti opens with “Suddenly as the riot squad moved in”. Like with Bayonet Charge, it puts the reader straight into the action. It catches you out, causing confusion and making you want to read more. These emotions are felt by you as a reader as well as the character in the poem, and is effective because it gives you an idea of the chaos at the centre of the conflict.