Poem Collection for Literature Class

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Sonnet
Anthem for Doomed Youth
By Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Reading this poem, I couldn’t help but remember the WWI video I saw in my history class. People were dying so frequently in that war that no one necessarily stopped to mourn or even really acknowledge the death. At home when someone dies lovers, family members, and friends mourn them. The only sounds made are that of the cannons and guns firing. It is sad that in war, when you die, it’s as though nothing happened at all.

Sound Poem
Rue
By Samuel Menashe

For what I did   
And did not do   
And do without   
In my old age   
Rue, not rage   
Against that night   
We go into,   
Sets me straight   
On what to do   
Before I die—   
Sit in the shade,   
Look at the sky   

The lines, “sit in the shade, look at the sky” interest me. Sometime I think on how I spend my time, on what I chose to do. This poem describes that feeling to me. Perhaps there are things I am missing out on, things I don’t know about or just haven’t taken the time to observe. In Mays Landing there are places that we all might pass everyday not realizing that if you take the time to observe might have some unknown beauty. To me the poem means, take every good opportunity you get, and always make sure to take time to ‘smell the roses’.

Poem about Death
Myth
By Natasha Trethewey

I was asleep while you were dying.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow
I make between my slumber and my waking,
 
the Erebus I keep you in, still trying
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow,
but in dreams you live. So I try taking
 
you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
Again and again, this constant forsaking.
 
*
 
Again and again, this constant forsaking:
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
You back into morning, sleep-heavy, turning.
 
But in dreams you live. So I try taking,
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow.
The Erebus I keep you in—still, trying—
 
I make between my slumber and my waking.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow.
I was asleep while you were dying.

This poem is very strong; its use of repetition emphasizes the issue the speaker is having trying to deal with the death of what I can only assume was their lover. This poem describes the permanence of death through the experience of a person. I can only imagine the pain that person must feel when a dream feels real. Once they wake up they have to realize that the person is not there, and that the person they woke up next to every morning they will never wake up with again.

Poem about War
Before the Deployment
By Jehanne Dubrow

He kisses me before he goes. While I,
still dozing, half-asleep, laugh and rub my face

against the sueded surface of the sheets,
thinking it’s him I touch, his skin beneath

my hands, my body curving in to meet
his body there. I never hear him leave.

But I believe he shuts the bedroom door,
as though unsure if he should change his mind,

pull off his boots, crawl beneath the blankets
left behind, his hand a heat against my breast,

our heart rates slowing into rest. Perhaps
all good-byes should whisper like a piece of silk—

and then the quick surprise of waking, alone
except for the citrus ghost of his cologne.

This poem was interesting...
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