The Grave of War’s Too Deep

0
214
views

Bang!  Boom!
Drop!  Explode!
The bombs increase;
The landscape’s mauled and mowed.

“Shoot!  Kill!”
Fall!  “He’s dead!”
“Again!  Don’t cease –
Our foe will meet our dread.”

Cry!  Scream!
Wail tonight.
Farewell to peace –
democracy’s in sight.

Crow!  Gawk!
Rise, bright sun.
The blood-stained streets
reveal what’s been undone.

March!  Call!
Taps are played.
With trumpets’ beats,
the fallen heroes laid.

Moms, Dads,
Mourn those gone.
No medal, priests,
or ceremony’s song.

Sob.  Sniff.
See the heap
of those deceased.
The grave of war’s too deep.

The grave of war’s too deep.

 

Commentary:

This poem was an exercise of creating a poetic form for a creative writing class I’m teaching.

In this poem, I wanted to create a critique of war by showing various scenes.  Each stanza opens with two words – each a one syllable spondee.  Each one sets the stage for the stanza.  For example, in line one, Bang and boom set the scene for the bombing scene.  Whereas, sob and sniff in the last stanza set the scene for the heap of those deceased.  Stanza four begins with crow and gawk to simulate the morning bird sounds, especially crows coming to eat flesh.

I used words and alliteration sounds to connect the ideas of the stanzas.  For example, in the first stanza, bang and boom go with bombs.  Mauled and mowed are both connecting words, provide a picture of the landscape, and alliterate.

To give it both abruptness and scene change, I used two single syllable spondees in the first line and a spondee in the second line.  Then I wanted to resolve the stanzas by using an iambic meter.  So the second line ends with iambic monometer, the third line is iambic dimeter, and the fourth line is iambic trimeter.  Written out in syllables and stresses, the poem looks like this.

/  /
/ – /
– / – /
– / – / – /

Since I was trying to create different scenes of war, I wanted to use a rhyme scheme that would resonate through the poem.  In this case, the third line of every line rhymes (or has some sort of variation of rhyme throughout).  The second and fourth line of every stanza rhymes as well.  Written out, it looks like this (X stands for no rhyme).

X A B A
X C B C
X D B D
X E B E
X F B F
X G B G
X H B H

Because this is a critique of war, I wanted to juxtapose two major scenes.  First, I wanted to show the violence of war in the first two stanzas.  The second scene, which begins in verse 3 is the scene of the aftermath of war – crying, mourning, loss, etc.  Because the aftermath of war is so much more devastating and long term than the violent parts of war, I chose to make the aftermath section 5 stanzas in comparison to the first two stanzas.  There’s also a scene of night which carries the first three stanzas, followed by day for the last four stanzas.

I tried to create an image of two scenes.  First a scene of Western soldiers being laid to rest with ceremony and second a city in ruins piling the bodies in a heap without any ceremony.  Both scenes connect with the last line – “the grave of war’s too deep.”  Since the rhythm seems to speed up, I chose to repeat the last line – to slow the poem down, for added effect, and to reiterate the conclusion.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here