Five Ways to Kill a Man

Topics: Poetry, Stanza, World War II Pages: 3 (1021 words) Published: October 15, 2008
In the poem called “Five Ways to Kill a Man,” by Edwin Brock, the poet indicates five different ways to kill a man by using history to relate the topic. A woman named Gerda Hoogenboom said, “The key to understanding the poem is to look at the setting of each stanza. Then, the rest follows” (Plagiarist Poetry Archive). By going through time and using various poetry techniques, Brock was able to get his point across to the reader in his poem.

In Brock’s poem, there are five stanzas and each of them has a significant meaning in the poem. This poem does not have any certain rhyme pattern and the poem is based on death. Brock uses good imagery in his poem to show the reader how each man was killed throughout history. In the first stanza, Brock begins to talk about killing a man in the 1st century; “You can make him carry a plank of wood/ to the top of the hill and nail him to it. To do this/ properly you require a crowd of people/ wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak/ to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one/ man to hammer the nails home” (Brock, 2-7). Here, the poet described how the killing was done and then continued to explain to the reader smaller aspects of how to do it right. It is easy to see that the poet is starting off his poem in the beginning of the 1st century.

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The reader can get an idea of what Brock is do in this poem by reading the next stanza. Instead of the poet talking about how to kill a man in the 1st century, Brock moves on to the next time period. The poet says, “Or you can take a length of steel,/ shaped and chased in a traditional way,/ and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears” (Brock, 8-10). The time period the poet is in now is the Middle Ages, and people killed each other using swords. He uses the same technique in the first stanza to go on and tell us how to commit this act, “But for this you need white horses,/ English trees, men with bows and arrows,/ at least two flags, a prince and a/ castle to hold...
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