Nancy Gish wrote:
> The poem is "In Distrust of Merits" and although it does have lines that
> could be read as in support of the need to fight, it is about as far from
> Rupert Brook's sentimentality as it could be.
I agree. Part of my point was that in 1914 Brook's sentimentality could,
apparently, be taken seriously by a literate public. The Great War made
that impossible any longer. I hadn't tried in a long time to try to
remember what WW 2 'felt like' for civilians. (I was 11 at the time of
Pearl Harbor.) I don't quite trust my memory. I'll work on it.
The line is not a refrain
> (Moore did not write the kinds of poems that have refrains and this is
No, not a refrain in a technical sense -- especially since its position
in the line (or over the line ending) keeps changing. But it has
somewhat of that effect: a sort of base line the poem keeps returning
to. Incidentally, the notes don't identify a quoted sentence near the
. . ."When a man is prey to anger,
he is moved by outside things; when he holds
his ground in patience patience
patience, that is action or
beauty," . . .
Do you know where that comes from? I had never examined the poem too
closely, and it is only in typing out these lines that I noticed the
triple "patience," which certainly links with the repeated triple
"fighting" in some way?
> I think the tone is set by the question mark in the opening two
> lines: "Strengthened to live, strengthened to die for/ medals and
> positioned victories??
Perhaps. What about the lines in the penultimate stanza, "If these . .
.can teach . . .these / dyings were not wasted"? That I do remember as a
repeated refrain during the War -- the demand that the deaths not be
wasted. But that very demand (even in its more bombastic or sentimental
versions) reflected the awareness that the deaths of WW1 _were_ wasted,
that waste was a real possibility. I've got to reread Fussell's two