Poetry From Other Cultures
“War Photograph” and “War Photographer”
In the poem War Photograph, Kate Daniels immediately expects us to know which photograph she is talking about as soon as she gets past the first verse (which describes the photo in question) which explains why it is so short. The first stanza is describing what we see, immediately in front of us from this photo.
After this, she explains in the second stanza about the rest of the war; what we can't see from the photo. After reading it you see that what you can see in the photo is like looking through a keyhole into a room. You only see a small part of what is going on, but you get a better idea of whats going on after reading this poem. Showing us that in the picture we see only what they want us to see.
The idea that she is also “running from the gods who have changed the sky to fire and puddled the earth with skin and blood” makes us think how she is and they are running from the 'All-powerful' Americans – not gods – and that shows just how helpless those people are. Or they could be referring to the elemental gods.
Daniels talks about how the war is being fought in the “Other World” which makes it sound like they are talking as though it has nothing to do with the Americans as it is so far away, but Daniels could also be referring to being communist.
“She keeps on running, you know, after the shutter if the camera clicks.” The extra “you know” sounds almost dismissive, saying is in a matter-of-fact way. “She is running to us... for how can she know what we really are? From a distance we look so terribly human.” This explains how the Americans are to blame and how the Vietnamese didn't know.
In the poem War Photographer, the idea of the photographer being “finally alone” makes us think how he could be using it as a form of sanctuary for himself after being in all the chaotic destruction and panic of the war in which the photos he has taken are subject to. The...
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