by Louis Simpson
‘Most clearly of that battle I remember
The tiredness in eyes, how hands looked thin
Around a cigarette, and the bright number
Would pulse with all the life there was within.’
(Full text not availble at this time).
Who doesn’t enjoy history, so much of it surrounds war. For some war might be enjoyable, for the unaccustomed it might even look entertaining. War, however, is not such the case. Perhaps Louis Simpson is in such a caliber to speak of war, as he fought in World War II during the Battle of the Bulge.
This poem presumed to have been written 10 years after the battle, “most clearly of that battle I remember the tiredness in eyes, how hands looked thin”. Right from the beginning you can feel a beat a rhythm. Similar to the poem Drum (Hughes). ”Helmet and rifle, pack and overcoat.”
The entire poem is bifurcated in that each line is split with either: and, comma, or period. This leads to a natural cadences for the reader, you can almost imagine a fast pacing drum that would be used to keep the troops at the correct pace. Helmet and rifle …pause… pack and overcoat is how it might be read.
If this poem was given popular culture treatment you might hear it being recited as a soldier walks through the woods in war time France, the sound of mortars or artillery off in the distance draws the soldier back to the trenches. With the sound of gunfire, the soldier drifts to sleep, and the camera fades to black. Starting from white, color fades in with ringing of the ears, corpses on the ground, and snow of black and red.
I could not decide as to what circumstance this poem might be heard or told. At first we thought maybe at the bar with his buddies, other veterans, and the like. However going back to the poem, the only use of pronouns is They, and Their. That language alone has to mean that this kind of poem had no audience at least not to those who were there and experienced it for themselves.
However, I dont know what to say about the following Youtube video.