“The cannon’s note,” Seeger prematurely recalls, “has ceased.” That forward glance is a rare concession, a tempting of the Fates; most of Seeger’s war poems describe a momentary state of peace — quicker than a gunshot, both part of the war and separate from it — before the battle once again rumbles forward.He didn’t often dare to contemplate the way it would end. ,” life on the battlefield and the moment of death characteristically meet.The Great War was as these poets described — trenches, gas, suicide, crippling shell shock.
“The cannon’s note,” Seeger prematurely recalls, “has ceased.” That forward glance is a rare concession, a tempting of the Fates; most of Seeger’s war poems describe a momentary state of peace — quicker than a gunshot, both part of the war and separate from it — before the battle once again rumbles forward.He didn’t often dare to contemplate the way it would end. ,” life on the battlefield and the moment of death characteristically meet.The Great War was as these poets described — trenches, gas, suicide, crippling shell shock.Tags: Solving Problems Using Order Of OperationsDetermining My Perfect Position PaperPost-Grad EssaysFalsification ThesisControl Paper Quality TermCreative Writing RutgersThe Future Role Of Technology In The World EssayCritical Thinking MooreGravity Essay CompetitionBest Business Plan Template Free Download
They were written after Seeger had already been buried in the loam of northern France.
Their critical devotees, who increased in number with the war’s 50th anniversary in the 1960s, had the benefit of even more hindsight: a second world war’s worth.
I am twenty-eight years old tomorrow.”The letter writer is still young, you might say.
The romanticism that colored Seeger’s experience of life extended to the war itself.
Nine sentences and 14 lines: an update from a tiny, unidentified village to the rear of the Western Front, and a sonnet. From 1914 to 1916, the poet passed along stories and verse from the front to readers of The New Republic, The New York Sun and other newspapers. Six months later, when Seeger’s collected poems were published, it bore the title “Sonnet XII.” A more illuminating one would be: “His Last.” Thirteen days after he wrote to his godmother, Seeger was killed in battle. As if a writer, resting on some cosmic ridge over the lines at Hulluch or Ypres, could lay eyes on any Tommy or (as the French soldiers were called) and transform him into the next Achilles. Not the type whose foundations give future scholars the approximate location of truths, but a total fiction.
Alan Seeger, an American volunteer in the French Foreign Legion, encloses a poem with a letter to his godmother. Seeger experienced World War I and its destruction, calculated and comprehensive, a few years before anyone back home in America did.The sentences in the letter are short, stilted, like the ones a parent might hear after asking her child how school was that day. The Good War; the narrative that crescendos with a single battle, with every piece in its exact position; a sense of rightness in who makes it back and who does not — all fictions. Not in age, but in the way you might say “young” in place of “naïve” or “immature.” “Sentimental” comes closer, but it isn’t fair, either.Their depictions of life in the trenches match up with the images most commonly associated with World War I.It’s no coincidence: Their poems helped form that picture.Onassis thought it reminded him of his brother Joe, who died in the Second World War.You don’t find much Seeger among the poems revered for their chronicling of World War I.Knowing what they knew, the literary crowd found Seeger’s poems antiquated, if not outright dishonest.They felt that readers should see the depth that European society had sunk to in World War I.Owen describes “Knock-kneed” soldiers “coughing like hags” before a gas attack hits. The poem ends with its title and war’s enduring lie: “Dulce et Decorum est/Pro patria mori.” .Poets don’t command much attention these days, but you can still hear Owen’s and Graves’s poems on television specials about the war.