War Poetry

War Poetry

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War has occurred in several occasions throughout history. We've had several important wars in the twentieth century, World War I and World War II, and Vietnam. Each and every war has had an effect on those who lived through it, and those who fought in it. Poets write about what effects, and inspires them. If they were soldiers in war they often times have a strong opinion of war. This comes out in their poetry. Seigfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke were English poets who both served in World War I. Sassoon, a true survivor of trench warfare, wrote, 'Everyone Sang'; protecting war. While Brooke, who did not see the trenches, wrote, 'The Soldier';, and a patriotic war-supporting poem. Each man wrote a splendid war poem, but each from different spectrums of war.
     'Everyone Sang'; is a two stanza, five-line poem that says so much about the imprisonment of war. The poem was written right after Sassoon's release from the British army. He is so overjoyed to be released that he compares it too, '…prisoned birds must find in freedom Winging wildly across the white Orchards…'; Like many other poets, he is terrified by war and was 'filled with such delight'; to be out. Sassoon witnessed the brutality on war, which hardened him to the idea of patriotism. 'Everyone Sang'; is a rejoice of freedom until the final two lines. '…O, but everyone Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.'; Sassoon is reflecting on the realities of war. He implies that even though he is 'free'; and will always be rejoicing, he will never be free from the thoughts and memories of war. Let alone the wars to come, and the new soldiers to follow in his path.
     Rupert Brooke also wrote about war but in a much different light. Brooke did serve in the Navy during World War I but before he made it to the lines he died of blood poisoning. This is obvious when understanding his poems. He has a very positive outlook on war. He has a very strong patriotic love of England. Brooke's wrote, 'The Soldier';, a traditional sonnet. He praises the wonderful land of England. 'Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's breathing English air….'; He is loyal to his country for it has been good to him, and he will honor his country by dying for it.

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Brooke would be proud to die in the land that raised him. 'In that rich earth a richer dust concealed.';
     War is a common thread for all writers to use. As Sassoon pointed out, there will always be war, and as long as there is war there will be someone to write about it. Poets express their protest or support through their writing. War poetry can also be a form of propaganda. Sassoon's was traditional propaganda opposing war; while Brook's was a positive form of propaganda. Each man had very strong opinions based on their own personal experience; neither was right or wrong. Though they are very different, each are excellent works and deserve a second look.
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