These poems are from war periods. They vary from ancient wars to more recent ones, like the WW2. All of the poems talk about how wars provoke uncountables deaths upon humans. Each of the poems expresses it through different ways, but all of them try to explain the same thing to the readers: war only brings death, and with it also brings madness, and lies, and the dehumanization of people, and finally, as in ‘The Destructors”, people lose their empathy and their trust.
Dulce et Decorum Est: by Wilfred Owen
Now, I will focus on “Dulce et Decorum Est” and what Owen tried to portray and how I can see it present still today. If you read the poem, at the end you can see what the title really means: Owen tries to make us re-ask ourselves, after giving us another completely new point of view of the war, if it is worth to die for our country or not, by repeating the title and completing the phrase (“The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.)
My personal feelings about this are that the government still does this until today. For example, the other day I read an article on Snapchat, on how the US government uses video games to encourage people to enlist on the army, or to even do the service. It was crazy to read that the government does propaganda mixing the more known war video games (Fortnite, Black Ops 4, PUBG, etc.) and with the service. The propaganda is targeted to teens, so they say like you could experience Fortnite game but in real life, for example. The government put the games (which are funny or entertaining to play) only to convince teens that fighting for their country in wars is good, and is as funny as in the games.
In my case, Argentina’s government does not make this type of propaganda, or maybe I don’t realize about it. But I can assure that while you are playing this type of games, I sometimes think about how would it be in real life, how all these things would be. And I start wondering how would it be to carry the gun and be there. But then I remember that it is not a game, which you can play as many times as you want, where if you die you can restart, where if you are wounded you can heal yourself and where you kill someone it does not matter because it didn’t really hurt him. These things in real life are crazy. In real life, you don’t have the restart button when you die, or when you are wounded or when you kill someone. A single mistake can ruin everything.
Soldier Rest: by Walter Scott
Now talking about “Soldier Rest”, Walter Scott Sir Walter Scott wanted to portray and protest about the war and about society. He thought that soldiers were mistreated and didn’t have to fight. Wars were caused because of the mistakes and bad decisions of their leaders/kings. But in consequence, soldiers had to work very hard and fight for a purpose that maybe they weren’t even interested in. So we after reading the poem, and think about it, we can see that humans repeat their mistakes again and again, we can’t learn nothing about them. This means that no matter what, there will always be wars, and poor soldiers fighting, without stopping, only resting when they die.
I can see this poem reflected in today’s society/world. Obviously, nowadays we aren’t fighting in a real war, but each person carries his inner war inside. What I really see and want to explain is: in the case of Argentina, we are suffering today the errors that our government made more than half a century ago. Everyone, except very rich people, is “fighting a war” which is not theirs. With “fighting a war” I mean having to work very hard only to get a salary which barely covers their needs (in the case of the majority of people in the country). And this war will only be ended when our government takes right decisive decisions or when you die.
I personally didn’t go through this, but I saw a lot of people who had to sacrifice more than half of their life working all day and all night, fighting for survival because of the wrong decisions of the government.
The Kiss: by Siegfried Sassoon
In the case of “The Kiss”, Siegfried Sassoon wants to transmit that war is crazy and that can turn a man into a crazy person, that only wants and loves killing. In this poem, the voice is a soldier who is speaking about his gun: “Brother Lead and Sister Steel”. Brother Lead is the bullet, and Sister Steel is the barrel. In his first sentence, he says “in these I trust”. We can see that he has a complete sense of trust over the gun. He gained this from using it a lot of times so we can assume he killed a lot of people. Then he shows his admiration for the bullet, but also he has a bigger admiration for the barrel, which he keeps “clean from rust”. The second stanza he admires how the bullet goes through a skull. And in the third stanza, the voice talks of killing a man with the barrel, putting his feet on him, and then giving him a darting kiss from the barrel. In conclusion, this poem shows how people can go mad during a war, as the voice in this poem, who is adulating the weapon, and he also feels he is in “heaven” when he kills with it.
I can relate this to what I said about “Dulce et Decorum Est”. Nowadays, a lot of people lose their minds because of video games. Not only war video games, but war video games are the ones who wake up those feelings of killing. In the poem, the man is crazy and lunatic. There are millions of cases of kids who went with weapons to their schools for different reasons (but video games where the general and most common one) and they killed someone or some people. People have to be careful with this type of things which can make you go insane.
Personally, I only lose my mind because of football. Not much when I’m watching a match, but when I’m playing the match I go crazy. It’s like if the person standing on the pitch isn’t me. The way I act inside of the pitch is way different from the one outside. For me, a match is only a one-way ride, where I can only win. So if someone hits me on purpose or unintentionally, or even touch me in a wrong way, I almost want to kill him. Literally. I hate when that happens, but it is not intentional. In a way, is similar to how the soldier in the poem, when he is in touch with the gun, he starts killing, with alienly rage and intentions.
Everyone sang: Siegfried Sassoon
“Everyone Sang” is a happy poem, and I interpreted it as the end of the first world war in 1914, but at the end, we perceive a severe disappointment from the voice, claiming that the war hadn’t ended quite yet. We understand this in the last stanza when it says:
“My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless;
the singing will never be done.”
We believe that the voice refers to the treaty of Versailles when the allies were very harsh on Germany, there were many people that disagreed with the big three and were very afraid of the second world war.
I think that wars and conflicts will never end. Humans can not learn from their past mistakes. In consequence, they will always make that mistakes which led to past wars. Since the beginnings of history that wars are being recorded. A lot of years have passed, and we are still fighting. The voice of the poem had a reason for being anguished and sad: until we don’t start learning, this will always be the same. And it seems that this won’t happen in a very long time. Even if we fix something, in a period of time, another conflict arises because of the same things.