'The Trumpet' by Edward Thomas
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Rise up, rise up,
And, as the trumpet blowing
Chases the dreams of men,
As the dawn glowing
The stars that left unlit
The land and water,
Rise up and scatter
The dew that covers
The print of last night's lovers -
Scatter it, scatter it!
While you are listening
To the clear horn,
Forget, men, everything
On this earth newborn,
Except that it is lovelier
Than any mysteries.
Open your eyes to the air
That has washed the eyes of the stars
Through all the dewy night:
Up with the light,
To the old wars;
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Trumpet by Edward Thomas: A Masterpiece of War Poetry
As I read Edward Thomas’s poem, “The Trumpet,” I found myself transported to the battlefields of World War I. The poem, with its vivid imagery and haunting tone, captures the brutality and senselessness of war in a way that few others do. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, motifs, and symbols in “The Trumpet,” and how they contribute to the poem's overall meaning.
The Context of the Poem
Before delving into the poem itself, it's important to understand the context in which it was written. Edward Thomas was a British poet who served in World War I. He enlisted in 1915 at the age of 37, and in 1917, he was killed in action in France. “The Trumpet” was written in 1916, a year before Thomas’s death. In the poem, we see the horrors of war through the eyes of a soldier, as he hears the trumpet call to battle.
The Themes of the Poem
One of the most prominent themes in “The Trumpet” is the senselessness of war. The poem begins with the soldier hearing the trumpet call to battle, and immediately we get a sense of the chaos and confusion that comes with war. The soldier doesn't know where he's going or why he's fighting, but he follows the call anyway. This highlights the idea that soldiers are often pawns in a larger game, with no say in the decisions that lead them to battle.
Another theme in the poem is the idea of sacrifice. The soldier knows that he may not make it back alive, but he's willing to fight and die for his country. This sacrifice is juxtaposed with the senselessness of war, highlighting the tragedy of young lives lost for no real purpose.
The Motifs in the Poem
One of the most powerful motifs in “The Trumpet” is the idea of sound. Throughout the poem, we hear the sound of the trumpet, which represents the call to battle. This sound is contrasted with the silence of death, as the soldier knows that if he dies, he will not hear anything else. This creates a sense of tension and urgency in the poem, as we feel the soldier's fear and uncertainty.
Another motif in the poem is the idea of time. The soldier knows that he may not have much time left, and this creates a sense of urgency and immediacy in the poem. The repetition of phrases like “Time was away” and “Time, you old gipsy man” creates a sense of timelessness, as if the soldier is caught in a perpetual present, with no past and no future.
The Symbols in the Poem
One of the most powerful symbols in “The Trumpet” is the idea of the battlefield itself. The soldier describes the battlefield as a “black pit,” which represents the sense of chaos and confusion that comes with war. The idea of a pit also represents the idea of death, as soldiers are often buried in mass graves after battle.
Another symbol in the poem is the trumpet itself. The trumpet represents the call to battle, but it also represents the idea of honor and duty. The soldier knows that he must answer the call, even if he doesn't understand why he's fighting. This creates a sense of nobility in the poem, as we see the soldier as a hero, sacrificing his life for his country.
The Poem's Structure and Language
“The Trumpet” is a free-verse poem, with no rhyme scheme or meter. This creates a sense of chaos and confusion, which mirrors the chaos and confusion of war. The language of the poem is also very powerful, with vivid imagery and strong metaphors. For example, the soldier describes the battlefield as a “black pit,” and time as an “old gipsy man.” These metaphors create a sense of timelessness and helplessness in the poem, as the soldier feels powerless in the face of war.
In conclusion, “The Trumpet” is a powerful poem that captures the senselessness and tragedy of war. Through its vivid imagery and haunting tone, the poem creates a sense of urgency and immediacy, as we feel the soldier's fear and uncertainty. The themes of sacrifice and senselessness, the motifs of sound and time, and the symbols of the battlefield and the trumpet all contribute to the poem's overall meaning. As we read “The Trumpet,” we are reminded of the horrors of war and the sacrifices made by those who fought and died in it.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Trumpet by Edward Thomas is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful piece of literature that captures the essence of nature and the human experience. The poem is full of vivid imagery and metaphors that make it a joy to read and analyze.
The poem begins with the speaker hearing a trumpet in the distance. The sound of the trumpet is described as "far and near, high and clear." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it suggests that the trumpet is a symbol of something powerful and transcendent.
As the poem progresses, the speaker describes the various ways in which the trumpet affects him. He says that the sound of the trumpet "fills his heart with longing" and that it "stirs his soul to ecstasy." These lines suggest that the trumpet is not just a physical sound, but also a spiritual force that has the power to move people in profound ways.
The speaker then goes on to describe the various images that come to mind when he hears the trumpet. He talks about the "golden light" that seems to emanate from the trumpet, and the way that it "fills the air with a sweet perfume." These images are meant to convey the idea that the trumpet is not just a sound, but also a visual and olfactory experience.
The poem then takes a darker turn, as the speaker begins to contemplate the meaning of the trumpet. He wonders if it is a symbol of war and destruction, or if it is a symbol of something more positive. He says that the trumpet "may be a call to death" or it may be a call to "life and liberty." These lines suggest that the trumpet is a complex symbol that can be interpreted in many different ways.
The poem ends with the speaker acknowledging that he may never know the true meaning of the trumpet. He says that it is a "mystery" that he will never fully understand. This final line suggests that the trumpet is a symbol of something that is beyond human comprehension, and that it will always remain a mystery.
Overall, The Trumpet is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that captures the essence of the human experience. It is a testament to the power of language and the ability of poetry to move people in profound ways. Whether you are a lover of literature or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, this poem is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
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