English / Reservist By Boey Kim Cheng

Reservist By Boey Kim Cheng

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Autor:  Andy33  05 October 2011
Words: 632   |   Pages: 3
Views: 1579

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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