Since honor is an abstract emotion and not a specific course of action, this poem is adaptable to any number of circumstances beyond the occasion for which it was written. Anyone who cares about someone who has been defeated can relate to the hope that the defeat will not have been in vain.
Anyone who knows someone who has been victorious, but who has eventually died anyway, can appreciate the nobility of honoring the dead. The Canadiens are the oldest team—being formed in — and have won the most championships Stanley Cups of any NHL team.
In Flanders Fields
Too often today we think of propaganda as a brainwashing tool, used to make evil look good, but it is actually not a good or bad thing: in this case, propaganda simply means that the poem is designed to stir up the greatest amount of empathy for the speaker and the greatest anger at his enemy. There is no doubt that, in the end, the poem encourages readers to take action against the foe. It influences readers by presenting death as a kind of peace in the first nine lines, but then, once that premise of peace is established, it threatens to deny peace to the dead soldiers if the enemy is not fought.
The only mention of conflict in the first two stanzas is the vague mention of guns, and they are not even presented to readers directly, but are mentioned in context of the larks—noted as being somewhere below them. This poem is a prime example of the highly stylized poetic form called the rondeau. Defining marks of the rondeau that are present here are that it is divided into three stanzas; that the stanzas have five, then four, then six lines; that the opening phrase of the first line is repeated in line 9 and again in line 15; and that, except for the repeated phrase, all of the lines have the same length 8 syllables.
Like many rondeaux, this poem is written in an iambic tetrameter rhythm. Most of the lines of this poem are enjambed —that is, they do not end with pauses for punctuation, but carry over into the lines that follow them. This gives it a sense of smooth continuity, making readers feel that one thought carries on from the last. The subject matter of the poem may command quiet concentration, but the structure of the poem is not broken down into units of thought, the way an intellectual inquiry can sometimes be.
Instead, it is all run together smoothly, using the strong, clear repetition of the rhyming sounds to pace the rhythm. Some historians believe that the accelerating factor was that Germany was looking for a reason to attack Russia; some believe that it was a last desperate attempt by the decrepit Austro-Hungarian Empire to hold onto its control of a sizable portion of Europe; but few accept. The war was over within a month of when the actual fighting began.
Today: The United States has had difficulty holding the coalition from the Gulf War in agreement, but most countries still seek international approval before taking military action. Today: Although the Ku Klux Klan sometimes requests parade permits and presents itself as a legitimate political organization, most Americans reject it as a group based on hatred, violence, and bigotry. Today: Organizations that support animal rights advocate an end to laboratory testing, urging scientists to replace such tests with computer simulations. The direct cause of the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand , an heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
On June 28, , the archduke and his wife were shot while visiting the Bosnian capitol of Sarajevo. The man who killed them was a Serbian separatist who wanted Serbia to have independence from Austria-Hungary. Also undetermined was whether the government of Serbia supported the Black Hand.
The Austro-Hungarian government claimed that they did and that the Serbian government had helped and encouraged the assassination. The Serbians claimed that Austria-Hungary was inflating the importance of the incident in order to bully Serbia and to show all of the countries in their confederation that they were still in control and could not be resisted.
On July 28, , one month after the killing, Austria-Hungary issued a list of demands to Serbia. The Serbians agreed to all of the dictates except the most humiliating one: it stated that Austro-Hungarian troops should be allowed to search Serbian households for conspirators against the empire.
The Serbs refused to allow foreign troops to come into their houses, and so on July 28, , Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia. Serbia had an agreement with Russia, though, requiring Russia to help defend Serbia in a war. Austria-Hungary was uncertain whether Russia was going to honor its part of the treaty, but they decided—partly due to Austro-Hungarian train schedules—to send troops to attack both Serbia and Russia at the same time.
The German Army was positioned for a fight with France, though, and since it was likely that France would eventually join the war, Germany attacked France. To get to France, Germany had to pass through Belgium where Flanders is located. England, which had a treaty to defend Belgium, joined the fight against Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Many Americans felt that the war was a European problem, and they did not want to spend money or lives on it, so the United States did not join the war until April of Likewise, J. Logan and Donald G. By the s, critics were not as responsive to the mystique of either the poet or the poem, and so they could address its worth more clearly.
Brodie goes back to and cites themes, such as the melancholy that later developed into a fascination with death, and the evolution of the first-person speaker. David Kelly is an instructor of creative writing at several community colleges in Illinois, as well as a fiction writer and playwright. In the following. When a thing is wildly successful, it is not just our privilege but our responsibility to examine it and understand the secret of its success.
- Claire Rayner!
- As I See It: From a Blind Man’s Perspective.
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Scientific knowledge is based on learning from either successes or failures, taking care, of course, not to damage the thing in the process of examination. Bad science, the type that people fear, holds study to be more important than life. Luckily, poems are made to be studied, and we cannot harm a poem by scrutinizing it and extracting any elements that can be useful to our own society. It is one of those achievements that could never have been anticipated.http://blacksmithsurgical.com/t3-assets/speculative/how-to-visit-other-country.php
The issues it addresses must have touched its audience. Could the same thing happen today? The first thing poets will consider is the optimistic side, the belief that any well-crafted poem speaks to all of us across the span of time, across cultures and generations. So long as death is a one-way experience—a mystery that we can count on continuing for the foreseeable future—the shocking contrast of someone watching the sun rise one day and being dead the next will continue to give readers a chill.
One does not have to have experienced war to appreciate the juxtaposition of crosses and flowers and of singing larks and exploding bombs.
It avoids mentioning who was fighting against who, or the principles for which they were fighting. If the sentiments in the poem can apply this well to a new, unintended situation, then we should guess it would be possible that a war poem could be written today with equal longevity, if it could serve other purposes when there is no war going on.
Even in times of peace, courage is always in fashion. Can it? The answer should be obvious—a world that has a place for war should also have a place for war poetry—but the world we live in is actually a very different one than the one in which John McCrae saw battle. Clearly, people in needed this poem.
They found themselves in its fear, hope, and stubbornness, and they counted on others to relate to it in the same way, which is why it has been often used for memorial ceremonies and was effective in fund-raising advertisements for war bonds.
Flanders [sound recording] : the Poppy chronicles II / by Claire Rayner. - Version details - Trove
Now, at the end of the twentieth century, our relationship to both war and poetry has changed. The field of poetry itself has helped alienate mass audiences by shunning exactly the elements that beginning readers feel most comfortable with: rhythm and rhyme and sentimentality. At the same time, other diversions have been actively inviting the attention of mass audiences.
Millions of people study poetry and millions more faithfully read it for pleasure, but it would be difficult to identify a single poem from the past twenty years that has become a part of our culture. The role poetry used to play has been taken up, mostly by popular music and, to some degree, by advertising. It is true that during times of war patriotic feelings swell, but that is balanced against the fact that, since the social turmoil during the Vietnam conflict that gave pacifism a voice, politicians around the world are hesitant to commit to fighting without a clear, nearly objection-proof rationale.
The world is a much more cynical place: we are no longer willing to fight wars because politicians tell us to, because we distrust their motives and judgement. It seems naive, then, to think we would be willing to engage in warfare just to avoid breaking faith with strangers who came before.
It is missing from our experience. Some people consider this a good thing, and they have a point. It is a complex world, jam-packed with information—where a grammar school student in Bettendorf, Iowa, can sit at her desk and access designs for an office center in Katmandu, and where a simple discussion of the common cold leads to the double-helix DNA strand and which chromosome makes who susceptible. With the flood of data that washes across us each day, each piece which might be significant, our brains are filling to capacity, and people have been making the decision to quit retaining ideas about others who have already passed from the earth.
Each year newspapers have great fun printing examples of college students who think the Civil War was fought in the s or that Shakespeare and Aristotle knew each other, but they do not offer any useful advice about how to remember the past when there is so much else to pay attention to.
The problem is that ignoring history, like ignoring anything, becomes too easy. Forgetting the soldier who wants to pass on his torch has become as easy as forgetting the date of the Magna Carta. The question of whether or not we are too peaceful today to take up the fight is debatable, but contemporary humans are just too busy with what comes next to hear a plea from the dying or the dead.
Bruce Meyer is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Toronto. He has taught at several Canadian universities and is the author of three collections of poetry. For all the mixed signals that the poem sends—the confusion of a Virgilian pastoral elegiac patriotism and self-sacrifice with an overt and seemingly clumsy call to arms—it has succeeded in permeating the cultural consciousness, not only of Canadians but of English-speakers worldwide as a testament to the grim horrors of war.
The answer to this puzzle is composed of several pieces. The first piece of the puzzle is its language. One of the greatest problems facing the trench poets of the First World War was the linguistic gap between the brutal actuality of the war and the public perception and acceptance of the horrors. To a reading public, especially Canadian readers, during the First World War, the public ear and imagination had not yet left the Romantic era. Brown, in his trend-setting study titled On Canadian Poetry, simply dismissed the entire body of Canadian writing from the war as unimportant.