How important is landscape in some of the literature you have studied of World War one
Many of the poet’s during World War one relied upon landscape to create the atmosphere needed to give some idea to the people at home what the surroundings of war and the repercussions of war really were like. The horrific nature of war could not be seen on television as it could be today, it could be reported in newspapers quite adequately, yet many found that the best way to really get a feel for war, was to hear from some that had experienced it first hand, as many poets of the day had done.
Wilfred Owen was a leading poet during the Great War. Poems such as ‘Exposure’, ‘Strange Meeting’, and ‘Mental Cases’ contain copious amounts of vivid language all upon the torture of the men at war, and the pain and suffering that they encountered while fighting. Although Wilfred Owen was a fantastic poet, his use of landscape within his poems was limited.
Although, Wilfred Owen’s use of the weather to create in eerie feeling within his poems was present, ‘Our brains ache, in the merciless iced East winds that/ knive us… ‘We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag/stormy. ‘ ‘Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? ‘ ‘Spring Offensive’, another poem by Wilfred Owen, contains many images of landscape and weather, however. ‘Hour after hour they ponder the warm field -/And the Valley behind, where the buttercups/… Where even the little brambles would not yield. ‘this poetic landscape is used to create a pause almost, within a poem.
It creates a ‘time out’ from all the action taking place. One particular poet that looks in particular depth to landscape is Rupert Brooke. Rupert Brooke was a Georgian poet, and these tended to be poets that focused on the pastoral view of war, and upon England and its essential qualities. Rupert Brookes’ poetry is also extremely patriotic, talking of anything English to be extremely special.
The poem ‘The Soldier’ contains many important references to landscape and so give the idea that war was almost beautiful, ‘In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;’ ‘Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. ‘ The style with which Brooke wrote, almost glorify the war and the events that took place, ignoring the horror that was real and instead convey a mix of emotion and patriotism. This was, however, the mood of the period, a time when people back home wanted uplifting and reassuring that their loved ones were safe and happy at war.
A line from ‘Safety’, another of Rupert Brooke’s sonnets, tells us that the men a war were happy to die, yet tells us also, that they will live with us always, ‘The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth, /The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying, /And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth. ‘ Brooke uses pastoral words once again to convey a comforting feel to this sonnet. Rupert Brooke’s use of landscape within his poetry , is extremely important to express the way that most people would like to think of war.
The idea of when we die, we are put into the earth and almost give something back. This is how Rupert Brooke liked to think happened when we died in action. And so, his sonnets hold a reflective tone and use many a personification on the landscape and surroundings of the soldiers at war. Women’s Poetry during the early 1900’s was never as popular as the likes of Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke. Vera Brittain wrote a very pastoral poem called ‘Perhaps’, in this poem she conveys her thoughts and feelings after her lover passed away during the war.
With beautiful language about ‘golden meadows’ and ‘autumn harvest fields’, it still holds a sombre theme. Vera Brittain uses these fantastical words to beautify the death of her loved one, and the use o such beautiful language mixed was such a sombre theme creates a more sorrowful feel to the poem. The use of landscape within poetry during World War one was an extremely important factor. It created the serene feel amongst all the horrors of war – sometimes even being personified as the enemy in war. Poets thus used landscape as their way of expressing emotion outside of the human form.