DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

Review: Boys in Poppy Fields

To see the spring’s new darling buds and know

no innocence was kept within them.

They are stained forever, colours unforgiving,

in fields of blooming ruby petals,

while gentle voices woke in songs of soldiers falling.

Eyes stung with tears unshed,

and hearts swollen large with faces gone in moments passed too quickly –

to see the spring’s new buds

stained by hands so unforgiving, in a war of man’s ignorance,

and doomed for time to keep repeating.

A war in which boys dress like men,

helmets falling in their eyes

and shoes so large they flop about

in a field of stained red petals.

Their hands could hold the world, if only we had not killed them.

I chose to review this poem as it was the most touching, and the characterisation of the boys with helmets falling in their eyes was an image that conjured convoluted feelings of humour and sadness.

I would say that this poem was originally supposed to be a sonnet, but instead became a free-verse poem with no regular meter. The imagery is striking, particularly in the recurring shades of red, and the sentiment of boys pretending to be men is heart-wrenching.

Some of the lines are clumsy, such as the line, “and hearts swollen with faces gone in moments passed too quickly,” which evokes a very strange image that I don’t think was entirely intended by the author, but it is partly redeemed by the earnest solemnity of the poem itself.

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