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A Soldier's Cemetery

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by

Caroline Standfield

on 12 March 2014

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Transcript of A Soldier's Cemetery

First Stanza
Behind that long and lonely trenched line
A
To which men come and go, where brave men die,
There is a yet unmarked and unknown shrine,
A
A broken plot, a soldier’s cemetery.
A Soldier's Cemetery
BY JOHN WILLIAMS STREET.
ANAYLISED BY CAROLINE STANDFIELD AND MCKENZIE MARTEL

"A Soldier's Cemetery" by John William Streets
About John William Streets
Speaker and Tone
Second Stanza
Behind that long and lonely trenched line
To which men come and go, where brave men die,
There is a yet unmarked and unknown shrine,
A broken plot, a soldier’s cemetery.

There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d
To live (so died) when languished Liberty:
Across their graves flowerless and unadorned
Still scream the shells of each artillery.

When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot
Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,
And flowers will shine in this now barren plot
And fame upon it through the years descend:
But many a heart upon each simple cross
Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.
He was born on March 24th, 1886. From the age of 14 to 28, he worked at the coal face in the local Whitwell coal mine helping to support the large Streets family. He was known as an English soldier and poet of the first world war. Streets, by this time a sergeant, was wounded on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and subsequently went missing. His body was eventually recovered exactly ten months later, on 1 May 1917. His poems were posthumously published in the same year under the title The Undying Splendour.
Tone- Much like
All Quiet on the Western Front,
the poem is mournful and resentful. However it is not aggressive, but rather calm and assertive.
Speaker-The speaker is a person who experienced war himself.
Analysis:
The first stanza explains all of the casualties of the brave men in the front line. Streets shows his anger towards the war and how the soldiers' bravery goes unnoticed in the last two lines. The word "broken" emphasizes how wrong the war is and how insignificant the dead soldiers are.
There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d
A
To live (so died) when languished Liberty:
B
Across their graves flowerless and unadorned

A
Still scream the shells of each artillery.
B
Analysis:
Street uses the flower as a symbol for the lost youth of the soldiers, playing on the image of the grave. The second line "the men who scorn'd/ To live (so died) translates to: the soldiers died because they had disregarded life. It continues on to say that their liberty or freedom of youth and potential died with them. The last line shows how much the war has affected the land and the soldiers' last years of life.
Final Stanza
Tone: Mournful and dishonored
Tone: Angry, grievous, and
traumatized.
When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot
Of many a pilgrimage will be the end
And flowers will shine in this now barren plot
And fame upon it through the years descend:
But many heart upon each simple cross
Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.
Tone: Grief is a
reoccuring theme
throughout the poem.
This stanza is also calm.
Analysis:
The first two lines continue to talk about how
when the war ceases, few will mourn and visit the soldiers. He emphasizes this describing the plots as "barren" painting a picture of a desolate grave. The final lines mourn the loss of the soldiers and the grief he feels for them.

Comparisons
Much like in All Quiet on the Western Front, the speaker believes that all of their potential and innocence has been lost through the war. In the poem he says," There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d/To live (so died) when languished Liberty." This quote means the men's youth should still be there but it is taken by the war. In
All Quiet on the Western Front
, Paul says," We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk" (Remarque 106). This quote is similar to the quote in "A Soldier's Cemetery".
Overall Theme
The overall theme in the poem is that millions
of soldiers risked their lives for the sake of their country and they should be mourned. The poem also emphasizes how their youth is taken away from them, unjustly. The themes in the two works are very similar and both center around how horrible the war is and what a great toll it has on it's soldiers.
Full transcript