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"The Target" By: Ivor Gurney
Transcript of "The Target" By: Ivor Gurney
One of us "Twas him or me.
'Couln't be helped' and none can blame
Me, for you would do the same
My mother, she cant sleep for fear
Of what might be a-happening here
To me. Perhaps it might be best
To die, and set her fears at rest
For worst is worst, and worry's done.
Perhaps he was the only son. . .
Yet God keeps still, and does not say
A word of guidance anyway.
Well, if they get me, first I'll find
That boy, and tell him all my mind,
And see who felt the bullet worst,
And ask his pardon,if I durst.
All's a tangle. Here's my job.
A man might rave, or shout, or sob;
And God He takes takes no sort of heed.
This is a bloody mess indeed -Born in Gloucester, England on August 28, 1890
-was a composer and musician
-Started composing music at age 14
-Enlisted in the war in 1915 -Published his first book of poems in 1917
-Wrote poems and music while in the trenches
-Was taken out of the war in 1917 when his trench was gassed
-Was diagnosed with nervous breakdowns and shell shock from the trauma of the war -Continued to write poetry while he was in the hospital and throughout his years of mental instability.
-He died in 1937 at the age of 47 from tuberculosis The Target:
-Written from the perspective of a soldier in the trenches
-He writes about how he shot a man and the thoughts he had after these events
-One theme of this poem is that death would be preferred to continuing in the war
-Another theme is that it seems like God has abandoned the war. This poem is written in iambic pentameter in five stanzas. The poem's rhyme scheme is AABBCC...JJ Rhyme Scheme and Meter: Simple Language:
-uses slang: "twas, a-happening, durst" Social Criticism:
-Common people had glorified views of war
-Probably shocked some people who were uninformed about the reality of war First Stanza:
-The soldier wishes he didn't have to kill the other soldier
-Even though he is in the middle of battle, he still struggles to shoot someone. Second Stanza:
-He feels bad for the stress and worry he has caused his family.
-War is just as hard for the family members of those involved as it is for the soldiers Third Stanza:
-He worries about the family of the man he killed.
-Doubts that God is really there during the war. Fourth Stanza:
-Ponders what he would do if he died and met the man he killed
-Says he would apologize, but would be nervous to do so. Fifth Stanza:
-He feels tangled and stuck in the war.
-He thinks it is hopeless and that God doesn't care what happens. There is a deeper meaning behind the simple statements:
-War turns men into killers
-God abandoned the soldiers
-Death isn't the worst part of war
-War is confusing and inescapable