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‘The Battle’ Louis Simpson, ‘A lullaby’ Randall Jarrell and ‘Icarus Allsorts’ Roger McGough

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 963
  • Category: Poems

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The Battle, A Lullaby and Icarus Allsorts could all be seen to have clear differences between them, but all at the same time have some similar characteristics.

‘The Battle’ is written in a form to strike the reader as short but as something that because of this impacts the reader of the points and description being put across. The sentences are brief and it even contains one or two word sentences to hit the reader of the importance of these such as “Helmet and rifle, pack and overcoat.” Its short and to the point. It suggests that the war is just revolved around these few basic things all men fighting in battle live with. Its short and to the point. The Battle contains similes to help explain what’s being described. The description in the poem is all very dull and dead giving a very depressing and low mood and attitude towards the scenes witnessed at war. The snow was black” indicating the harshness of the scene. “The corpses stiffened.” The syllables are extended/long showing the gradual change in the dead bodies. “Guns thudded” is an example of onomatopoeia. “They sank like moles” is the simile here giving an explanation of something else to describe the movements of the soldiers. Moles sink when digging and so when the men are digging this is the motion perceived when they too were digging helping to explain the movements.

The rhyming patterns are lines 1 + 3 and 2 + 4 and are very solid. The rhyming words when read with the whole verse all link up and relate to the description creating increased impact and understanding of the scene being described.

This poem is written, starting describing scenes but as it progresses the reader in fact finds that it’s an eye – witness account from someone actually feeling and seeing this.

‘A Lullaby’ is written in a different style with a slower pace to the content to ‘The Battle.’

A Lullaby is written describing and influencing the reader about the experience of war that someone else has seen, the hell, the death, which it causes. All words used link to the same meaning such as “grave, cursed, dull, lying.” It shows of the dreams and memories that are lost by war. It explains that war takes your own minds freedom and focuses all your thoughts on the degradation of war. Again, many words like this such as “Fight for freedom, sleeps, crops his head, recalled in dreams or letters, wars his life” give a clear linking to the loss of life both physically and mentally.

The structure of the poem sticks rigidly to a four line verse each line with ten syllabus. This is done to create the effect of regularity and lulls the reader into a weary state. The drudgery and repetitiveness of life as a foot solider is expressed in the lines:

“He sleeps with seven men within six feet

He picks up matches and he cleans up plates.” The title, “A Lullaby” suggests that the soldiers are too young to fight and should be back at home with their family.

‘Icarus Allsorts.’ The poet approaches war (nuclear) in a funny manner addressing it as a nursery rhyme and a comical poem. Although, you could argue such a serious matter needs to be addressed seriously, it could be said that this method is good for actually drawing the reader in and catching their attention. It’s tone, mood, and rhythm vary throughout. Although immature, it in fact has quite a sinister approach to just how obscene and destructive war is.

The structure is irregular and it is blank verse meaning it doesn’t have a rhyme scheme. This is done to show the chaotic nature of the situation. The poem is rounded by the first verse being repeated in the last verse, these two are linked and so everything between these two verses are combined in the subject being written about and put across to the reader.

The content of a nuclear war is treated in a humorous way. “And grinning pressed the button, that started World War Three” suggests that the General thought it was fun to start a nuclear War. “There were even missile jams No traffic lights in the sky” shows the number of nuclear warheads in the sky was enormous and random.

The poem changes tone towards the end in a more serious way:

“CND supporters,

Their ban the bomb badges beginning to rust

Have scrawled ‘I told you so’ in the dust.” This is the way the poet says that people should have listened. Its also powerful as “ban the bomb badges beginning” is strong alliteration. “He should have got the sack

But, that wouldn’t bring

Three thousand million, seven hundred, and sixty eight people back,

Would it?” Here the poet is showing us that one wrong decision could be devastating and cannot be reversed.

The description in “The battle” is allot more strong and vivid giving clear imagery to the reader whereas “A Lullaby” is more in a style of just going into depth of describing the poems title than creating a picture of what’s being seen.

The Battle and A Lullaby both describe hand-to-hand combat as appose to Icarus Allsorts, which describes Nuclear War. Its approach to the negativity of war is very different.

“The Battle” describes the harsh realities of war. SERIOUS APPROACH.

“A Lullaby” explains more about the soldiers than the war itself and how they shouldn’t be there. LIGHER APPROACH TO THE SUBJECT.

“Icarus Allsorts” explains just how easy it is to devastate and destroy the world. COMICAL AND FUNNIER APPROACH.

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