The Battle by Louis Simpson
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Helmet and rifle, pack and overcoat
Marched through a forest. Somewhere up ahead
Guns thudded. Like the circle of a throat
The night on every side was turning red.
**** Soldiers marching into battle surrounded by gunfire. The red night symbolizes blood and death.
****Immediate dehumanisation of the soldiers in the opening lines of the poem, use of synecdoche: ‘Helmet and rifle, pack and overcoat/Marched’
****Anti-heroic description of the soldiers, deglamorisation of war
****Onomatopoeia: ‘Guns thudded’
****Simile: ‘Like the circle of a throat’
They halted and they dug. They sank like moles
into the clammy earth between the trees.
And soon the sentries, standing in their holes,
Felt the first snow. Their feet began to freeze.
****Stark realities of war: ‘Their feet began to freeze’