Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two Poems

The Man He Killed

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.

-Thomas Hardy

photo because there should be

I really love this poem. I was thinking about it recently; don't know why. The last stanza reminds me of "All Quiet on the Western Front." I really love the stuttering explanation at the begining of the third stanza. Also, as per usual with Hardy, I adore the language that he uses. What do you like about it?

yup. pretty much
next to of course god america i
"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water
-e. e. cummings

This one is also an old favorite. Cummings' use (or rather lack therof) of grammar gives his writing a unique tempo. The ending is so sharp and tough in comparison to the heart-felt lines above.

I really don't know why I've been thinking about these two poems. Now that I've re-read them, I see how similar they are in subject. Well, what do you think? Do they speak to you? And if so, how? Do you have a favorite line from either?


Mandie P said...

I hate to admit this for the world wide web to read - but I don't... or rather- I can't read poetry... maybe one day I will and I will have some wonderful insights to share... but until then...

tetrahedron said...

i like that he drank the water rapidly.

Rachel said...

Don't worry. we're all judging you.

Regina said...

What mandie p said was very poetic. She cain't read it, but she kin rite it! Yeah, I like the 3rd stanza of The Man He Killed. He has no reason yet justifies it and separates himself from the murder. I like ee cummings, too: "oh, purple finch..." And why isn't nipperkin in the list of top 100 vegan things?