Remember, most were peasants; their life was in rice and bamboo. Did they use bone and ivory,jade and silver, for ornament? It is not remembered whether in gardens stone lanterns illumined pleasant ways. Nichols points out that Levertov is aware of the amount of effort required for a poet to move between poetic practice and political imagination 68. He gives the longest answer of this question by describing what and how was the culture of Vietnamese before the war. It was reported their singing resembled the flight of moths in moonlight.
What They Were Like is free verse of an unusual kind. Point of View Identities of the speakers are not made explicit but we infer that the questioner is somebody who doesn't understand the impact of the catastrophic was on the Viatnamese people. Similar to the way a historian may interview a war survivor. When bombs smashed those mirrorsthere was time only to scream. All the human beings are now transformed into charred body. Nichols, Judith, and William Nichols.
The questions continue like a catechism… and answers seem to be required. Life and war are terms in complete opposition. Did they distinguish between speech and singing? In the starting six verses of the poem, most of the questions are about the culture of the people of Vietnam. Mere survival itself seems a pyrrhic victory. Levertov tells us that they were quiet, who loved nature. Ever feel like protesting, Shmoopers? The constant movement reflects also the oscillation of human nature between evil and benevolent deeds. There is an echo yet of their speech which was like a song.
The second speaker seems to speak from experience and is probably Vietnamese. Did they distinguish between speaking and singing? And, this poem is not of anger but of suffering and anguish. Denise Levertov was a anti war protester, who protested about the loss of the Vietnamese culture and the cruelty of the Americans. All the bones were charred. There is an echo yetof their speech which was like a song. It is not remembered whether in gardens stone gardens illumined pleasant ways.
The poem begins with numbered questions: making it seem more like a school exam than a poem. Did the people of Viet Nam use lanterns of stone? It is written as two stanza. In her early adulthood Virginia would experience the death of her parents, two of her siblings, and an aunt who helped raise her. It was reported their singing resembled the flight of moths in moonlight. Remember, most were peasants; their life was in rice and bamboo. Chances are, you pictured a bunch of hippies holding posters with peace signs and marching together. This shows how the war turned people with a light heated nature to stone.
Did the people of Viet Nam use lanterns of stone? The use of dubious mass bombings and the chemical napalm in particular caused a public outcry. What follows further down in the poem is the distortion of memory. We are the humans, men who can make; whose language imagines mercy, lovingkindness we have believed one another mirrored forms of a God we felt as good— who do these acts, who convince ourselves it is necessary; these acts are done to our own flesh; burned human flesh is smelling in Vietnam as I write. Could I say of it, it overflows with bitterness. It is not remembered whether in gardens stone gardens illumined pleasant ways.
Introduction What Were They Like The Poem we have studied is 'What Were They Like' which was written in the 1960's by Denise Levertov. The image of the child not being able to feed himself or herself takes on a poignant dimension here. The poet might have used this style to make her readers think back, and know what they did in the past. Denise Levertov emphasises about the disaster which was caused by the Americans which left the people of Vietnam devastated. This piece by Denise Levertov is about the Vietnam War which occurred between 1955 till 1975. Although the form that the text takes on the page may seem regular, it is important that one realizes that this is neither mechanical nor predetermined but multidimensional, since it constitutes the outcome of intense contemplation with regard to how real-life experiences are communicated to the readers. First Stanza The poem What Were They Like? The past seems like a dream , unreal, and there is no space for joy, which the making of things for ornamental use implies.
Juxtaposition: In the second stanza, there is a series of contrast and juxtaposition. Sir, their light hearts turned into stone. The experience the poem communicates opens up to multiple stimuli which enliven the whole poetic practice. Unfortunately for the interviewer, no one has any real answers. Final Comments The poem What Were They Like? Stone lanterns, ornaments, spirituality, laughter, poetry and song are subjects raised by the researcher. This is chiefly poignant here, as the quite laughter has turned into the appalling sufferings.