War poems

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateF, April 1997

download word file, 2 pages 4.3 1 reviews

Downloaded 84 times

This is a review of war poems


When reading poetry on the subject of war, one's own feelings regarding the subject are evoked. This makes it easier to feel the words and what they say to you. Crane's selection, 'War is Kind' presents a dilemma from the outset as it uses two words 'war' and 'kind' that are dissimilar. Crane then highlights acts of destruction and despair with the 'kindness' of war. He notes that a child should not weep when his father was killed, 'Do not weep, babe, for war is kind. Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches, Raged at his breast, gulped and died. Do not weep. War is kind.' As if a child could think that someone who killed his father was kind. Or he contrasts 'virtue' with 'slaughter' ('Point for them the virtue of slaughter') and 'excellence' with 'killing.' ('Make plain to them the excellence of killing').

War may be honorable, purposeful, or necessary, but it is not kind, there is no virtue in slaughter, and there is no excellence in killing.

Whitman notes in 'Beat! Drums! Beat!' that when war comes, everything stops, including the sense and reason of the moment. No matter what is happening, there is no excuse for attending to anything else. The urgency of the moment rules. 'Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds', 'Make no parley - stop for no expostulation.' 'Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties, Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,'.

In 'The Arsenal at Springfield', Longfellow notes the senselessness of war. 'The cries of agony, the endless groan, Which, through the ages that have gone before us, In long reverberations...