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  1. Unregistered
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    poetry help

    hello, i am wondering if i could have some help analyzing this poem. reading it over 2-3 times i can tell some of the themes.
    i imagine them to be the following two themes and imagery:
    you cannot unsee some things in life
    the burden of killing people is unlike anything else

    the blur of the battlefield
    shellshock

    just asking if there are any other meanings or imagery that i have missed, or any "incorrect ones" that i have shown above.

    the poem is below for a reference :)
    thanks

    The Machine Gunner
    Steven Heighton
    From:** Ecstasy of Sketpics. House of Anansi Press, 1994.
    I saw them. They came like ghosts out of ground-
    mist, moving
    over ruined earth in waves, running

    no, walking, shoulder to shoulder
    like a belt of bullets or like
    men: tinned meat lined on a conveyor belt as the sun

    exploded in thin shafts on metal
    buckles, bayonets, the nodding
    spires of helmets. I heard faint battle cries

    and whistles, piercing through the shriek
    of fire and iron falling, the slurred
    cadence of big guns; as they funnelled

    like a file of mourners into gaps
    in the barbed wire I made quick
    calculations and slipped the safety catch.

    But held my fire. Alongside me
    the boys in the trenches worried them with
    rifles, pistols, hand grenades

    but they came on, larger now, their faces
    almost resolving out of hazed hot
    distance, their ranks at close quarters amazing

    with dumb courage, numb step, a sound of drugged
    choking in gas and green mud, steaming
    Who were these men. I saw them penitent

    sagging to knees. I saw their dishevelled
    dying. And when finally they broke
    into a run it came to me

    what they had always been, how I'd always,
    really, seen them: boys
    rushing towards us with arms

    outstreched, hands clenched as if in urgent prayer,
    sudden welcome or a reunion
    quite unexpected. Yes. And more than this

    like children, chased by something behind the lines
    and hurrying to us
    for rescue

    I spat and swung the gun around. Fired,
    felt the metal pulse
    and laid them three deep in the wire.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: poetry help

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hello, I etc. am wondering if i could have some help analyzing this poem. reading it over 2-3 times i can tell some of the themes.
    i imagine them to be the following two themes and imagery:
    you cannot unsee some things in life
    the burden of killing people is unlike anything else
    Do you think it might be saying something about group mentality that even an individuals conscience can be easily over-ruled by the group?

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