English 10: Literary Journeys

Poetry: Themes and issues of WWI and AQWF

tumblr_lnb7roCbQr1qkgs51o1_500Robert Graves was a solider, a poet, and a novelist who emerged as a poet early in WWI. He enlisted in the army as soon as war was declared in 1914 and started writing poetry soon after. He was injured by a puncture through the lung by a shell fragment and was thought to be dying. He did recover and went on to write love poetry, novels, and to a prolific writing career.

Reading his poem, A Renascence, makes the reader think about so many themes that are touched on in AQWF; themes such as change during hardship, the rebirth of men, transitions from childhood to adulthood, and the ravages of war on humanity. We will be talking more about these themes as well as poetry in the unit, so keep an eye out for poetry you might like to share with the class.

A Renascence

White flabbiness goes brown and lean,
Dumpling arms are now brass bars,
They’ve learnt to suffer and live clean,
And to think below the stars.

They’ve steeled a tender, girlish heart,
Tempered it with a man’s pride,
Learning to play the butcher’s part
Though the woman screams inside—

Learning to leap the parapet,
Face the open rush, and then
To stab with the stark bayonet,
Side by side with fighting men.

On Achi Baba’s rock their bones
Whiten, and on Flanders’ plain,
But of their travailings and groans
Poetry is born again.

Poem from: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/240340

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This article was written on 23 Jan 2013, and is filled under Enrichment Reading, In Class.

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