Written By: Marion Strobel
We with divided heritage see either side,
Involuntary spies who are upheld by pride,
Tasting the bitter powder, under fire,
Who work, along with soldiers, who, like they,
Though overhead the rockets turn the night to day,
Ram down the iron stake, spool off the wire.
Nor do the shells cease when the task is done, nor then
Do we find rest who lie as still as other men.
Not by the body is our heart betrayed–
Our tired backs will press to earth like theirs,
Our aching eyes seek sleep or watch the flares,
Close to our fingers is the hand-grenade–
Not by the loyal body as it tries to sleep
But by the treacherous brain. our thoughts like gases
Who do we fight? What are we fighting for?
Wipe off the goggles, clear the mask of breath:
Salvage the head, the brain is spreading death…
Or end the inner with the outer war:
The first few lines started out pointing the fact that each person comes from different countries and have different kinds of heritage. We see the poet wrote in the sense that those involuntary spies had to do it to support their pride. Describing the environment that they are around, and what they are experiencing during the war with their enemies. There were also so many soldiers that came to the war having the same role as one another. Even when it’s dark those soldiers and spies still felt like it was in the day because of the fire that was coming from the area that got bomb. When the poet wrote “Though overhead rockets turn night to day” symbolizing that the fire coming out of the rocket get is similar to daylight in the night time.
In the next few lines, the poet talks about people who died and what those people thought would be the solutions. Those people thought it would all end and they would all get to rest because of the lost of so many lives. But in the end, they realizes that they were wrong. Those who survived till now are all thinking about their future if it would turn out like their fellow people. The poet even wrote that they lie holding grande in their hands. It is like describing them waiting for their lives to be taken by one of the bomb or they bomb themselves to save many more out on the battlefields. She also compared our brain and thought as gas because no one knew about it or cared about it.
The last four lines are asking back to those leaders out there that initially started the war causing so many of our people and their people to die. The people under the power of the crucial leaders don’t understand what and why we have to fight for. When the poet wrote “salvage the head”, it felt like she was trying to send out this message that we should save our leaders’ brain from thinking all those nonsense and useless things and clear the mind for the brighter future that awaits us. The other option that the poet wrote on the very last line was that they can still continue on killing the population and soon come to an end.