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The Distance

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by

Emma G

on 26 May 2011

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Transcript of The Distance

The Distance By Denise Levertov The Distance
Denise Levertov

While we lie in the road to block traffic from the air-force
base,
Over there the dead are strewn in the roads.

While we are carried to the bus and off to jail to be ‘processed,’
Over there the torn off legs and arms of the living
Hang in burnt trees and on broken walls.

While we wait and sing in ugly but not uninhabitable cells
Men and women contorted, blinded, in tiger cages, are
biting their tounges
to stifle, for each other’s sake, their cries of agony.
And those cruel cages are built in America.

While we refuse the standard liverwurst sandwiches,
Knowing we’ll get decent food in a matter of hours,
Over there free fighters, young and old, guns never laid aside,
Eat a few grains of rice and remember
Uncle Ho, and the long years he ate no better and smile. Allusion to:
Ho Chi Minh-
president of Vietnam
and leader of the viet-kong Imagery Simile And while we fear
For the end of earth-life, even though we sing
And rejoice in each other’s beauty and comradeship,

Over there they mourn
The dead and mutilated each has seen.

They have seen and seen and heard and heard
All that we will ourselves with such effort to imagine,
To summon into understanding…
And they too sing.
They too rejoice
In each other’s beauty and comradeship.

They sing and fight. I see their spirits
Visible, crowns of fire-thorn
Flicker over their heads.

Our steps toward struggle
Are like the first tottering of infant feet.

Could we,
If life lasts,
Find in ourselves
That steady courage, win
Such flame-crowns? Theme People/soldiers die and suffer in war,
while protestors are not in real danger
the "Distance" between "over there," Vietnam and "here," America. Connection with"The Things They Carried" Tone Allusion (and symbol) to crucifixion of Christ, he
wore a thorned crown when he was killed
although he was not guilty People who didn't go to Vietnam themselves cant imagine what it was like
Example: O'Briens daughter Kathleen Earnest
matter-of-fact
Full transcript