Extract from the Prelude

The young boy is haunted by the awesome elements of nature that surround him:

  • ‘An act of stealth And troubled pleasure’
  • ‘The horizon’s bound, a huge peak, black and huge’
  • ‘I struck and struck again’
  • ‘the grim shape Towered up between me and the stars’
  • ‘measured motion like a living thing, Strode after me.’
  • ‘With trembling oars’
  • ‘homeward went, in grave And serious mood
  • ‘That spectacle, for many days, my brain Worked with a dim and undetermined sense’
  • ‘o’er my thoughts There hung a darkness’
  • ‘a trouble to my troubled dreams’


Soldiers faced perilous conditions, during the war and these were usually mentally damaging:

  • ‘Our brains ache’
  • ‘What are we doing here?’
  • ‘The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow…’
  • ‘We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed’
  • ‘Slowly our ghosts drag home’
  • ‘We turn back to our dying’
  • ‘For love of God seems dying’
  • ‘The burying-party… Pause over half-known faces.

Bayonet Charge

The soldier is caught in the action of war and is questioning why he is fighting:

  • ‘Suddenly he awoke and was running- raw”
  • ‘Stumbling across a field of clods’
  • ‘The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye’
  • ‘In bewilderment then he almost stopped-‘
  • ‘He was running Like a man who has jumped up in the dark’
  • ‘His foot hung like Statuary in mid-stride’
  • ‘King, honour, human dignity, etcetera dropped like luxuries’
  • ‘His terror’s touchy dynamite.’


The soldier’s experience causes him to suffer from P.T.S.D.:

  • _‘probably armed, possibly not’ _
  • ‘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’
  • ‘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

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’