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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ARTILLERY AND AERIAL BOMBARDMENTS, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Artillery and Aerial Bombardments" is a poem by American poet Richard Ghormley Eberhart. It was first published in 1969 and reflects on the themes of war, destruction, and the human cost of conflict.

Explanation:

The poem describes the destruction wrought by artillery and aerial bombardments, and the sense of horror and despair that it inspires in the speaker. The poem is filled with vivid and evocative imagery, as the speaker describes the "blackened river" and the "ruined trees" that are left in the wake of the destruction. At the same time, the poem reflects on the themes of loss, sacrifice, and the human toll of war.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: "Artillery and Aerial Bombardments" is a poem written in free verse, allowing the poet to experiment with line length and structure and to create a natural, conversational tone.
  • Imagery: The poem is filled with vivid and evocative imagery, such as the "blackened river," the "ruined trees," and the "bloodied women" who are caught in the conflict.
  • Repetition: The poem uses repetition to create a sense of rhythm and intensity, as the speaker repeats the phrase "terrible beauty" throughout the poem.
  • Metaphor: The destruction wrought by the war becomes a metaphor for the human cost of conflict, as the speaker reflects on the "hearts of oak" that are lost in battle.

Conclusion:

"Artillery and Aerial Bombardments" is a powerful and deeply affecting poem that reflects on the themes of war, destruction, and the human cost of conflict. Through its use of vivid imagery, repetition, and metaphor, the poem captures the sense of horror and despair inspired by the devastation of war. The poem stands as a testament to the sacrifices made by those caught in the midst of conflict, and the senseless destruction that war can inflict on both people and the natural world.

Poem Snippet:

"And in the terrible beauty of that country

The sun, moon, stars, and all the worlds

Began to rain down ruin

As the hearts of oak went down."


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