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1914-1918: THE DEAD SPEAK, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"1914-1918: The Dead Speak" is a poem written by John Drinkwater, an English poet and playwright who lived from 1882 to 1937. The poem was published in 1918, during the final year of World War I, and speaks to the devastating impact that the war had on the soldiers who fought in it.


World War I was a global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918, and claimed the lives of over 16 million people. The war had a profound impact on European society and culture, and many poets and writers of the time were deeply affected by the suffering and loss that it caused. Drinkwater himself was a pacifist, and the poem reflects his belief that war is a tragic and unnecessary waste.


"1914-1918: The Dead Speak" is a poem that gives voice to the soldiers who died in World War I. The poem is structured around a series of speeches delivered by the dead, who reflect on the senseless violence and destruction that they experienced during the war. They express anger and frustration at the political leaders and military commanders who sent them to fight, and lament the loss of their youth, their families, and their dreams for the future.


The poem is written in free verse, with no consistent rhyme scheme or meter. The lack of formal structure reflects the chaotic and disorienting nature of war, and underscores the sense of despair and hopelessness that the dead soldiers feel. However, the poem is also structured around a series of speeches, which give the poem a powerful sense of momentum and urgency.

Poetic Elements:

Drinkwater makes use of a number of poetic devices in "1914-1918: The Dead Speak," including imagery, metaphor, and repetition. The repeated use of the phrase "we are the dead" serves to emphasize the speaker's sense of disconnection from the world of the living, while the use of metaphor helps to convey the sense of a world that has been shattered and can never be fully restored. The poem is filled with vivid descriptions of the horrors of war, including images of blood, mud, and the stench of decay.


"1914-1918: The Dead Speak" is a powerful and poignant reflection on the devastating impact of war, and the toll that it takes on those who fight in it. Drinkwater's use of language and imagery is particularly effective in conveying the sense of a world that has been shattered and can never be fully restored. The poem is also notable for its pacifist message, which is a recurring theme in Drinkwater's work. Overall, "1914-1918: The Dead Speak" is a moving and thought-provoking meditation on the human cost of war, and a powerful reminder of the need for peace and understanding in a world torn apart by violence and conflict.


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