Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind

Topics: Stanza, World War II, Poetry Pages: 2 (561 words) Published: April 28, 2012
“Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind”
On first reading, Stephen Crane’s poem, “Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind”, is a poem that is making light of the seriousness of war and the loss of loved ones, for example: “Do not weep/War is Kind”. However, upon a second reading, it is the opposite. Crane is not making light of war, he is encouraging the maiden to join him in the bitterness toward the forces that perpetrate war (Semansky 258). Semansky describes Crane’s technique in cinematic terms, something particularly easy to understand. The shots he describes are the medium shot (waist up, gestures), close-ups (chest up, facial expressions), and long shots (figures against landscapes from a distance) (Semansky 258).

Semansky believes that Crane alluded to Mars, the Roman God of War. “Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom ----“ is the part of the poem containing the allusion (Crane). Semansky believes the allusion lends the poem an epic feel and that the poem foreshadows some of the great antiwar poems of the first world war (Semansky 258). He also says that Crane’s poem is about a correspondent whose job is to report. The correspondent uses bitter irony to comment on the ways in which the governments perpetuate lies about the nature and purposes of war (Semansky 258). “These men were born to drill and die/point for them the virtue of slaughter/Make plain to them the excellence of killing.” (Crane). These three lines from Crane’s poem clarify Semansky’s statement that the government perpetuates lies with the words “they were born to drill and die, virtue of slaughter, and excellence of killing”. “Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches/raged at his breast, gulped and died” (Crane). These lines clarify Semansky’s statement that Crane provides a clear picture of the physical and psychological suffering soldiers endure (Semansky 259). The final stanza of this poem is “Mother whose head hung low as a button/on the bright splendid shroud of...
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