What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Throughout this poem a large selection of vocabulary has been used. An example of this is is “Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle. These words could have been chosen as an expression of the poets emotions and how he experienced WWI firsthand also the emotion of the war itself. “Only the monstrous anger of the guns” tells me that there was a-lot of anger that the war had created and between the soldiers fighting in it. These specific words have been chosen because it allows emotion to be expressed and felt by the reader. The words convey to us the reality of war and how the deaths of these young soldiers is tragic and war brings nothing but negativity. It brings a sorrow poem from an anthem usually being a positive celebration. An example being the word war. War is a negative competition which does nothing but bring death and sadness.
The words affect our understanding are words like demented in the text ‘demented choirs of wailing shells’ which lets us understand that there was emotional anger in the shells fired from the guns.
Many language features have been used throughout this poem. An example of alliteration being ‘stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle’. These language features have been used for the effect of emotional understanding of this poem. It helps the reader to visualise the physical aspect of war and helps them to also feel the emotional aspect to it as-well. The language techniques convey effect to the poem. The language techniques express more than just the words meaning, for example: emotive language ‘ monstrous anger’ it allows the reader to understand that there was more emotion than anger but monstrous anger. The language techniques affect our understanding through helping us see the emotional, physical and mental damage that war does to people.
Positive and Negative Ideas:
Positive ideas in this poem would be overall idea about how war is a negative thing and that there is not anything positive about it. This influences the readers to agree and not mistake war with being a positive event. A language feature that is positive or has a positive meaning is emotive language with ‘praying’. Praying is a positive thing because it means people whether it be the soldiers, families or countries that they had hope. It showed that in all darkness of death, anger and sadness in war there is light and and there is always hope. Having positive ideas is there to keep the reader wanting to read and for them to understand exactly that, that is emotion in poems like war, there are both positive and negative aspects to it.
Negative ideas of war is war itself and how war brings nothing but death, anger and sadness. An example of a negative language technique would be alliteration with ‘drawing-down of blinds’ this is actually both a positive and negative LT. This is because drawing your blinds is a sign of respect so that is a positively influenced idea but negatively influenced also that someone has died. Another negative LT would be emotive language. ‘Die’ signifies as death which is negative and possibly brings sadness to the reader as they will think of loved ones that have passed. Having negative ideas is there to bring emotion and ideas to the reader in order for them to get a more personal and in depth experience.