Loss and Absence


The statue is supposed to memorialise Ozymandias but it is in a state of disrepair:

  • Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert’
  • Half sunk, a shattered visage lies’
  • ‘survive, stamped on these lifeless things’
  • ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
  • ‘Nothing beside remains.’
  • ‘Round the decay Of that colossal wreck’


The people of London have lost their happiness and power to change their situation:

  • ‘in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe’
  • ‘mind-forged manacles I hear’
  • ‘black’ning Church appalls’
  • ‘hapless Soldiers sigh’
  • ‘blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.’

My Last Duchess

The Duke is not married to the former Duchess, because he killed her:

  • ‘That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall’
  • ‘I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together.’
  • ‘There she stands As if alive.’

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Approximately, 110 soldiers were killed, during the Battle of Balaclava. They followed orders and sacrificed their lives for their country:

  • ‘ “Charge for the guns!” ’
  • ‘Into the valley of Death’
  • ‘Theirs but to do and die.’
  • ‘Into the jaws of Death’
  • ‘Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred’
  • ‘While horse and hero fell.’


Soldiers face perilous conditions whilst fighting at war:

  • ‘merciless iced east winds the knife us…’
  • ‘twitching agonies of men among its brambles’
  • ‘deadly… air that shudders black with snow’
  • ‘Slowly our ghosts drag home’
  • ‘We turn back to our dying’
  • ‘frost will fasten on this mud and us’
  • All their eyes are ice’


The soldier is involved with killing a looter. This experience causes him to suffer from P.T.S.D.:

  • ‘I see every round as it rips through his life-‘
  • ‘he’s there on the ground, sort of inside out’
  • ‘tosses his guts back into his body’
  • ‘he’s carted off in the back of a lorry’
  • ‘His blood-shadow stays on the street’
  • ‘the drink and the drugs wont flush him out-‘
  • ‘He’s here in my head when I close my eyes’
  • ‘his bloody life in my bloody hands


It is ambiguous as to whether or not the son has died but there are many details to suggest that he has:

  • ‘poppies had already been placed on individual war graves’
  • ‘spasm of paper red’
  • ‘After you’d gone I… released a song bird’
  • ‘skirting the church yard walls’
  • ‘I traced the inscriptions on the war memorial’
  • I listened hoping to hear your playground voice’

War Photographer

The photographer captures distressing moments that are experienced in war-zones:

  • ‘spools of suffering set out in ordered rows’
  • ‘A stranger’s features faintly start to twist’
  • ‘a half-formed ghost’
  • ‘blood stained into foreign dust’

The Emigree

The speaker’s childhood memories of her country of origin are being tainted by her adult understandings:

  • ‘There once was a country… I left it as a child’
  • ‘The worst news I receive of it cannot break my original view’
  • ‘It may be at war, it may be sick with tyrants’
  • ‘child’s vocabulary I carried here like a hollow doll’
  • ‘I have no passport, there’s no way back at all’


Many Japanese soldiers were coaxed into sacrificing their lives on suicide missions. If they did not fulfil their mission, they were viewed as a coward and shunned by the community:

  • ‘a samurai sword… a shaven head full of powerful incantations’
  • _ ‘enough fuel for a one-way journey into history’_
  • _ ‘they treated him as though he no longer existed’_
  • ‘to live as though he had never returned’
  • ‘must have wondered which had been the better way to die’

Checking Out Me History

As a result of the education he received, he feels as though he has missed out on knowing his true history:

  • ‘Dem tell me Wha dem want to tell me’
  • ‘dem never tell me bout…’
  • ‘now I checking out me own history’
  • ‘I carving out me identity’