Can someone comment on my poem comparison?Watch
Both poems use sibilance and alternative meanings to highlight the effects of conflict and describe their situations. In Remains the soldier says, "blood shadow stays on the street". There is a visual reminder of the graphic death and it foreshadows the memories that are going to haunt him forever. Alternatively, the "shadow on the street", could mean a psychological stain on his brain; a constant reminder of his gruesome acts. This is a clear effect of war and how the brutality can stimulate psychological issues in the future. The mention of blood continues at, "bloody life in his bloody hands". This slight semantic field of death and pain, and connotations of death, blood and violence, clearly highlights the horrific and graphic images of war. The allusion hints that the soldier is unbalanced by guilt. Alternatively, the solider could be using colloquial language and swear words of , "bloody", or it could be psychologically referencing the blood of the victim. This stimulates the effects of war and indicates the soldiers ptsd.
Similarly, in War Photographer there are, "spools of suffering set out in ordered rows". The sibilance enforces paradox chaos and suffering reduced to something being ordered. The organisation of , "ordered rows", references the photographer trying to help restore order to the chaotic world. It also mirrors the structure of the poem having four regular six-line stanzas, each ending in a rhyming couplet. This form is very rigid, juxtaposing the contents of the poem being chaotic and depressing. In addition to the rows, it gives the graphic image of dead soldiers being lined up neatly in their coffins. This conflict and war effects him in such a way, he feels it's necessary to tell the people's stories through photography: "running children in nightmare heat". This evokes pain and sadness for the reader as it's a clear link to the iconic Vietnam photograph of children running in fear. Both poems draw upon linguistic devices to help symbolise the effects of war.
The poem's forms differ quite significantly with chaos versus calm. War Photographer's exposition begins with a reference of the dark room, " as though this were a church". The simile shows the seriousness of his work; a solemn act, almost like a funeral mass. Carol's vocabulary choices within the first two stanzas create a semantic field of religion: "mass", "church" and "priest". An analogy is that both a priest and a War Photographer have to deal with death constantly. Carol Ann Duffy wants to represent that the photographers dark room is like a sanctuary for him. Him isolating himself and focusing on his work and how to present such graphic images highlights the effects of war on a person.
In comparison, the opening to Remains begins with a violent metaphor, "rips through his life'. The hyperbole "rips" , furthers the effects of war making you impulsive and violent. Armitage wants to highlight that the war and deadlyness of conflict has influenced the soldier to be capable of such brutality. The use of the soldiers first person colloquial language, "legged it', juxtaposes greatly with the bloody and graphic metaphor. The verb, "rips" has clear connotations of aggression and violence, which is worrying as the soldiers didn't even know if the looter was, "possibly armed, possibly not". This could highlight the soldiers young youth, but the colloquialisms later combine to imply the soldiers disregard for human life - verbs like "tossed" and "carted" suggest actions are not carried out with empathy or care. This highlights the effects of war and what conflict can do to someone who could be just beginning their life.
Both poems use juxtaposition to portray being out on the work field and then in the confinements of their own home. In War Photographer he is, "in his darkroom he is finally alone". The adverb "finally" hints that he wanted to go home and the he is relieved he is not at work anymore. In addition, the adjective "dark" signifies the topic of his photos being explicit and horrifying. This is supported by, "a hundred agonies in black and white". This emotive metaphor seems to confirm and solidify the "suffering" they show. It also contrasts with the "five or six" that the editor will pick out. This demonstrating that the suffering and effects of war dwarfs what is heard/seen in the media at home. "Five or six", also suggests the nonchalance from the editor and is suggestive of the lack of compassion society has over the effects of war in the photographs. The nonchalance of the editor is also seen in Remains, with the soldiers casual attitude towards the death of a man.
Likewise, in Remains the soldier returns home from war and the "drinks and drugs won't flush him out". His ways of coping isn't helping and he cannot get rid of this permanent guilt he is carrying. The stern repetition of "d" hints at an imposing and tense atmosphere. There is no rest from the memories, and a sense of desperation in the increased, irregular rhythm of the poem now, reflecting his anxiety. This clearly is a result of his juxtaposing actions at the beginning of the poem where he, "tosses his guts back into his body". The grotesque imagery created is truly haunting, exacerbated by the use of the casual, unceremonious manner it is carried out in. Both poems include the menacing aftermath of war and its serious effects.
In conclusion, the solider in Remains is trying to "flush out" the pain and guilt; not wanting to deal with it. Whereas, in War Photographer, he yearns for people to care and feel more than a "eyeball prick with tears...between...beers". The internal rhyme of "tears" and "beers" emphasises the short duration of time of the readers sadness. The tears will be quickly replaced by alcohol as they lack empathy and compassion. Carol Ann Duffy's third person poem wants to influence people to have more care for the effects of war and understand the daily routine of victims of conflict. On the other hand, Simon Armitage highlights Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the title meaning the remains of a corpse or the mental torment of guilt remaining.