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"The Reservist": A Presentation
Transcript of "The Reservist": A Presentation
a call to arms, the imperative letters stern
as clarion notes, the king’s command, upon
the pain of court-martial, to tilt
at the old windmills. With creaking bones
and suppressed grunts, we battle-weary knights
creep to attention, ransack the wardrobes
for our rusty armour, tuck the pot bellies
with great finesse into the shrinking gear
and with helmets shutting off half our world,
report for service. We are again united
with sleek weapons we were betrothed to
in our active cavalier days. "The Reservist": A Presentation Written by: Boey Kim Cheng
Period 6 Free verse poem
Theme of this poem: war.
Purpose: show monotony and repetitiveness of war.
Speaker: part-time soldier Stanza One Stanza One: Analysis rdgrehgtrh Stanza One: Analysis Martial language and war-like imagery evident
“Fanfare” and “call to arms”
introduces war to both soldiers and reader.
Ironic: declaration not 'grand'; speaker mocking war
“Creaking bones” and “suppressed grunts”
soldiers out of shape and worn out
Condition of soldiers shows monotony; battle-weary Stanza One: Analysis (cont'd) Stanza Two: Analysis “same hills”, “same forests”, and “same trails”
repetition; recognized routes = never-ending war
“like children placed/ on carousels they cannot get off from”
simile; soldiers have no control/ helpless child
“expensive fantasyland" = military exercises
"masked threats and monsters"
alliteration; involuntary assassin Stanza Two We will keep charging up the same hills, plod
through the same forests, till we are too old,
too ill-fitted for life’s other territories.
The same trails will find us time and again,
and we quick to obey, like children placed
on carousels they cannot get off from, borne
along through somebody’s expensive fantasyland,
with an oncoming rush of tedious rituals, masked threats
and monsters armed with the same roar.
“battle-weary knights”,“sleek weapons” and “rusty armour”
irony; opposite to ‘knight in shining armor’ Stanza Three Stanza Three: Analysis turning point; a shift of tone
optimistic tone; speaker believes possible achievement
Greek myth= Sisyphus; boulder up a hill
"send his lordship to sleep"
broken myth; victory achieved in ceaseless war
"open sea" and "daybreak"; renewal In the end we will perhaps surprise ourselves
and emerge unlikely heroes with long years
of braving the same horrors
pinned on our tunic fronts.
We will have proven that Sisyphus is not a myth.
We will play the game till the monotony
sends his lordship to sleep.
We will march the same paths till they break
onto new trails, our lives stumbling
onto the open sea, into the daybreak. Kim Boey Cheng born 1965; Singapore-born Australian poet.
National Arts Council's Young Artist Award (1996).
lectures Creative Writing @ University of Newcastle
secondary education at Victoria School
Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in English Lit. from National University of Singapore.
doctoral programme w/ National University of Singapore- discnt'd
Disillusioned w/ literary & cultural politics in Singapore The Poet's Works Somewhere-bound, (1989)
Another Place, (1992)
Days of No Name, (1996)
Losing Alexandria, (Giramondo, 2003)
Calling the Poems Home, (2004)
Plum Blossom or Quong Tart at the QVB, (Melbourne University Press, 2005)
After the Fire: New and selected poems, (2006)
Report to Wordsworth,
The Planners References Cambridge International Examinations. (2006). Songs of ourselves: The university of Cambridge
international examinations anthology of poetry in english. (p. 224). Cambridge University Press.
Conviron Pucate Altatis. (2011, August 16). An analysis of the poem reservist written by boey
kim cheng. Retrieved from http://literature-classics.knoji.com/reservist-by-boey-kim-cheng/
Lee, G. (06/1). Singapore infopedia. Retrieved from