English / Reservist By Boey Kim Cheng
Reservist By Boey Kim Cheng
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Autor: Andy33 05 October 2011
Words: 632 | Pages: 3
Time again for the annual joust, the regular fanfare,
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.
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.
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.
From the opening stanza, a mix of martial language and physical reality of the irregular soldiers is exhibited. The martial language includes “court-martial fanfare”, “call to arms”, while physical reality of the irregular soldiers includes “grunts”, “pot bellies”, and “creaking bones”, indicate age of the soldiers. Aside from the soldiers who are not sound fit to fight, “rusty armour” implies that they have been doing this for some time, which also refers to the repetitiveness and monotony of war. Along with the comic contrast given by the “sleek weapons” are the ironies from “battle-weary knights”, “the annual joust”, and “the tilting ‘at the old windmills”.
In the second stanza, a figure of speech used connects closely to the poem’s intention and feeling. Through the alliteration of “m” and repetition of “same” in lines 14, 15 and 30 and “again” in lines 11 and 17, monotony is shown. The alliteration of the letter “m” is contained in the quote “masked threats and monsters armed with the same roar” of lines 21 to 22. The monotony of war is shown by lines that feel monotonous, such as “We wi ...
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