The Charge of the Light Brigade

The soldiers fought in the Battle of Balaclava, during the Crimean War:

  • ‘ “Charge for the guns!” he said.’
  • ‘ “Forward, the Light Brigade!” ’
  • ‘Someone had blunder’d’
  • ‘Theirs not to make reply… but to do and die’
  • ‘Boldly they rode and well’
  • ‘O the wild charge they made!’


Propaganda spread lies about the experience that soldiers faced, the weather often took the lives of the soldiers over the actual conflict itself:

  • Merciless iced east winds that knife us…’
  • Low drooping flares confuse our memory’
  • ‘But nothing happens’
  • ‘Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles’
  • ‘We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy’
  • _‘For love of God seems dying’ _
  • ‘The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp’
  • ‘All their eyes are ice’

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’
  • ‘He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge’
  • ‘King, honour, human dignity, etcetera dropped like luxuries’


The soldiers are performing their duty to protect the war-torn area. The conflict continues in the soldier’s head, even when he returns home:

  • ‘we got sent out’
  • ‘Well myself and somebody else and somebody else are all of the same mind’
  • ‘Three of a kind all letting fly’
  • ‘I see every round as it rips through his life’
  • ‘His blood-shadow stays on the street’
  • ‘he’s here in my head when I close my eyes dug in behind enemy lines’


The mother remembers her last experiences with her son, before he went off to war:

  • ‘steeled the softening of my face’
  • _ ‘A split second and you were away, intoxicated.’_
  • ‘skirting the church yard walls’
  • ‘I traced the inscriptions on the war memorial’

War Photographer

The photographer captures distressing moments that are experienced in war-zones. There is disjunction between the Western perception of conflict and the reality of conflict:

  • ‘spools of sufferings set out in ordered rows’
  • ‘He has a job to do.’
  • ‘his editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement
  • ‘reader’s eyeballs prick with tears’
  • ‘where he earns his living… they do not care.’

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’
  • ‘I have no passport, there’s no way back at all’
  • ‘They accuse me of being dark in their free city.’


The government had power over the Kamikaze pilots and coaxed them into performing suicide missions:

  • ‘Her father embarked at sunrise’
  • ‘samurai sword’
  • ‘a shaven head of full of powerful incantations’
  • ‘journey into history’