Gifts for my Family By Viet Dzung

I’m sending my husband a few packs of special cigarettes.
He will smoke them slowly as his life is burning away like the ashes.
I am sending a few sewing needles to my mother.
She will sew a shirt as if she were sewing through my heart.
I am sending a few yards of fabric to my sister
I don’t know if she will make a wedding gown or a dress for a funeral
I am sending to my brother a lot of candy
He will eat so many sweets, because his life is so bitter
I am sending my father a plain white shirt
He will wear it only once, when he goes to his execution.
I am sending to Vietnam an ocean of tears
I am sending to Vietnam a dream of a peaceful day
I am sending to my husband a fountatain pen.
He will paint his life as a dream drawn between the thin lines.
I am sending to my mother a few boxes of tea.
She will pour me some tea as her eyes run out of tears.
I am sending my sister a few matches
She will burn her life in an empty, cold, and misty place.
I am sending to my brother a lovely ring
He will sell it to find a way to escape his life.
I am sending my father a few bottles of sleeping pills
He will use them to lull himself to sleep in the jail cell where he is imprisoned for life.
I am sending to Vietnam a caring song
I am sending to Vietnam my dreams of a peaceful sleep.

The poem Gifts for my Family by Viet Dzung isn’t like any poems we have read thus far in class.  This poem really toys with your emotions.  It makes you think about how life is when your country is at war.  The author starts off talking about how she is sending one of her family members something nice which uplifts you.  The next line would then be extremely dark and depressing.  For instance Viet says “I’m sending my husband a few packs of special cigarettes.  He will smoke them slowly as his life is burning away like the ashes.”  The second line makes you feel bad for her husband and makes the reader have a sort of feeling of depression come over them.  This is different from other poems we have read because this poem makes the readers emotions go up and down like a roller coaster whereas the other poems we have read are either uplifting or depressing throughout the whole piece 


Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen p.188

“What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

–Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering riffles’ rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.”

The poem Anthem  for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen is extremely vivid and uses a lot of sensory words that give the poem a deeper meaning.    Wilfred Own uses sensory words such as stuttering and rapid rattle.  The first sentence of the excerpt is saying that everyone is being killed like cattle which means that they are being killed in large hordes the way cattle are killed for their meat.  The second line is saying how the guns are constantly shooting and sound and look as though they are angry.  The third line has a ton of sensory words in them.  For instance it states stuttering riffles and rapid rattle which makes you imagine how quickly the guns are shooting and the enormous amount of guns that are being shot.  The last sentence is saying “Can patter out their hasty orisons” which patter out means the gunfire is overwhelming the sound of their foes orisons which means prayers.

Battlefield By Richard Aldington p. 200

“The wind is piercing chill

And blows fine grains of snow

Over this shell-rent ground;

Every house in sight

Is smashed and desolate”

This  excerpt from the poem Battlefield by Richard Aldington is really intriguing.  It is an extremely short poem but the author does a very good job getting his point across with very few words.  Aldington uses very good imagery that makes it very easy for the reader to imagine what the battlefield looked like.  The first two lines of the selection are very vivid with the way Aldington uses phrases like “the wind is piercing chill which” which causes you to almost have a shiver down your spine thinking about how cold it is.  The third line of the poem is saying that the ground is destroyed by all of the gun fire and is covered with the shells and shell casings.  The last two lines from the  excerpt explain to you just how bad the landscape is and the complete devastation the battle has brought to the area around where the fight took place.

Group Four Study Session

For our group meeting we decided to meet in the UC library during our usual class period.  When our group met we shared notes that each of us had about the poem we also went over the short stories that we had done in class.  We started off by making sure we all had the same poems checked off that we had gone over in class.  We then compared notes and went over poems that our group found confusing or difficult.   After that we went over the short stories that we had gone over in class.  We found the short stories to be easier to comprehend and remember then the poems.   Finally we tried to come up with a good strategy on how to approach studying for the midterm.  We decided it would be best to remember the name and author of the poem and then get a generalized idea of the theme of the poem.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death By W. B. Yeats

“I know that I shall meet my fate

Somewhere among the clouds above;

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love”

The poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by W. B. Yeats is a very eye opening poem.  This poem talks about how a pilot who was fighting for Italy knew he wasn’t  going to make it.  The part of the poem that was the most impactful to me was the part where he says “those that I fight I do not hate those, those that i guard i do not love”.  This just shows you how the soldiers don’t hate the people they are fighting against they are only doing so because their country needs them or because they volunteer to do so.  It also shows that they don’t always love their country or their people but they still fight and protect them anyway.  A lot of soldiers don’t even want to be part of the war but they don’t have much of a choice if the country forces them to fight.  Farther in the poem he goes on to say that it doesn’t even really matter whether or not his country wins it wouldn’t change their country in anyway.  So this goes on to show that he is also fighting just because he feels like it even though he doesn’t necessarily need to.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

“We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields”

The poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae is an extremely famous.  I found it to be very interesting how the author managed to put so much detail into this short little poem.   The excerpt that I chose is explaining how the soldiers have been killed  but that just a few days before they lived a nice life of love and now Flanders fields is their resting place.  This battle took place during World War I between the Germans and the British where the Germans used chemical weapons on their foes.  It’s heart wrenching to think about how these men lived lives like ours where they had loved ones and now because of a short battle they are no longer with us.  Later on in the Poem it talks about how poppies are growing in Flanders fields which represents life coming from death and time moving on from the battle.

The Unseen Host by: Charles L. Warr

“A few seconds later heagain felt convinced that something moved near the same place. He raised his rifle and fired three rounds on the off chance of it being a prowling German. His, shot seemed to be the signal for a perfect tornado of yells, and suddenly out of the mist there loomedphantom-like figures, armed with cutters. In a moment they were on the wire, cutting asfor their life snip went strand after strand.”

I found the short story “The Unseen Host” by Charles L. Warr to be little odd.  The story takes place in a small town in Belgium.  The main bulk of the story is talking about a battle between British and German soldiers.  The oddest part of the story was when there was a sergeant who fell asleep and slept through the entire battle.  The soldier said he had a dream about a white figure coming to him and not giving up.  The end of the story says that there was a bright light and figure that came out onto the battlefield causing the Germans to retreat.  The excerpt above is one of the most interesting parts of the story.  I found it ironic how the British soldier firing on the German caused the start of the battle when it could have potentially started at a later time.  But at the same time the early start to the battle gave the British an upper hand since the Germans may not have been totally ready for the fight.

THE AVIATOR by: Hornell Hart

I found the story “The Aviator” by Hornell Hart to be really odd and at the same time interesting.  The entire time this story keeps your mind going trying to figure out who this guy was and what kind of services he offered to the French.  This unnamed guy seemed really upset that the French did not except his services offer but he was still very determined to greatly hinder the Turkish ability to fight.  This man is flying in a monoplane and is trying to kamikaze himself into the armory of the Turkish fort.  The entire time you are reading the story you feel like he’s going to make it and actually succeed in his plan.  It  was really shocking and extremely ironic when he was shot down by the very people he was trying to help.  If the French hadn’t of shot him down this unmanned pilot would probably had succeeded and would have made the French’s job much much easier. 

The College Colonel By Herman Melville p.129

“He rides at their head;

A crutch by his saddle just slants in view,

One slung arm is in splints, you see,

Yet he guides his strong steed- how coldly too.”

This excerpt from the poem The college colonel is very interesting to me.  The first line is stating how the young man is leading his soilders back home.  The second and third line are stating how the young man is badly hurt.  He has lost one of his legs and one of his arms has been badly wounded.  The last line is stating how after everything he has been through he is still leading his men with pride and is still ready to continue in the fight if needed.  The section of the poem that states “how coldly too” seems to be saying that what he has been through has changed him and he is still a good strong leader.  I find it really interesting how even after the young man has lost his leg and has a badly wounded arm he still has it in him to continue leading his troops if needed to.

Thomas Campbell Ye Mariners of England p.69

“The Spirits of your fathers

Shall start from every wave –

For the deck it was their field of fame,

And Ocean was their grave”

I found this excerpt from the poem Ye Mariners of England  by Thomas Campbell to be very interesting.  Campbell does an exceptional job at helping you depict a picture of what is going on.  The first and second line are talking about how the Spirits of past sailors are greeting their fellow sailors.  The third line is stating that the deck of their ship is what they are best known for since that is where they conduct their battles.  The men on deck during battle would fire cannons at other ships and would have sword fights with others sailors. The last line is saying that the ocean is the grave of the sailors that do not make it in battle.  I find it interesting that Campbell calls the ocean their grave even though they didn’t go through a proper burial.