World War 2 Poem

I feel the loneliness after death,

Death that need not have been—

I hear the screech of brakes,

And see the muddy shoes removed,

Lying beside the still form,

The too-quick boy,

Covered with hempen bags,

Flies gathering.

It makes the heart sick,

As an old moon upsets the morning sky;

Or stills the heart

As does the shriek of wind through chimneys,

Through old cellars,

Through attics,

Through windows

Rattling through insecure windows.

I feel the loneliness after death,

Death that need not have been—

I hear the muffled cry of millions,

The battle shriek in martial music;

I hear the scream of bombs

And see the small feet flying.

The overall mood that the reader feels from this poem is something along the lines of eerie sadness. The lonesome tone is expressed by the author’s depressing use of words, such as “loneliness after death”, “old moon”, “shriek of wind”, “insecure windows”, etc. Instead of only visualizing it for the reader, the reader can actually feel things from those descriptive words.

The structure of the poem seems to switch between having 7~10 syllables and 3~4 syllables in different lines. It expresses both the grace and deep ness of death and also how simply tormenting death can be. The lines with 7~10 syllables are used to describe things in a lengthy manner, while the ones with 3~4 lines are short and straight to the point. The switching of different syllables serve as a dramatic rhythm for the poem.

The poem uses the figurative language of personification to portray how connected the entire event it is to humans and the characteristics of humanity, making it seem more relatable and darker. With World War II currently being the most terrifying event of the era, the techniques of personification truly captures the essence of the effects of the war with human characteristics. For example, the “scream of bombs” gives an alarming tone, for screams are something that humans are frightened by the most.


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