College Writing 2
April 6th, 2013
Poem Explication – “For The Union Dead”
The first stanza speaks of an old aquarium, one that has obviously been abandoned and left to the elements. The second stanza speaks of lost memories, perhaps fond ones, of the author and the old aquarium when it was still open. The third stanza speaks of lost time and of time marching onto a new (and more often than not, not exactly better) tomorrow, with new things going up where old things once were. The fourth stanza speaks of the old being torn up and new things being put in their place as if the old things were never there. The fifth stanza talks of parking lots as straight-up destruction of something good (and of a loss of innocence). The sixth stanza begins a new page and a new topic. A statue and a parking lot are going up in place of the old aquarium. It’s almost a mockery of the lives that were lost. The seventh stanza begins a section in which it speaks only of the war and battles in which Colonel Shaw was involved, and, in turn, the monument of him and his soldiers. The seventh stanza describes the battle as almost lost, and the soldiers, who were all black, are now immortally bronze. The eighth stanza speaks of the rampant racism in the city, and begins to talk of the Colonel himself (and of the statue which represents him). The ninth stanza keeps on with the Colonel, describing him as an angry, private, thin man. According to the tenth stanza, he is also somewhat power hungry, reveling in man’s “power” over life and death. He is firm, never bending, just like the statue that bears his likeness. The eleventh stanza speaks of patriotism that is found in tattered flags and every single town that looks the same as all of the rest, yet they still stand. They are weathered, old, and battered, and still they are firm in their pride and country. The twelfth stanza indicates that the statues and monuments lay long forgotten, a bare remnant of the glory...
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