The idea of exposure.
“Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us” The opener really sets the tone for poem, describing a cold location with winds that pierces the skin of those there. “Sudden Successive flights of bullets streak the silence, less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow” I can already feel the goosebumps rising on my skin. I get such a strong idea of how damn cold the weather would of been, especially since the author describes the air as being more deadly than the bullets. Must of been real cold.
“The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow” Really sets the mood by creating an extremely dull setting that I Vision has very little scenery too.
“With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew” builds on the whole dullness for the setting, a can now picture a snowy, bitter cold landscape with very little scenery to view.
“Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces” By this point in the poem the author has mentioned the cold weather in so many times that I too am getting shivers up my spine, the author doesn’t cease to write about this unpleasant weather which really helps to give the reader a better understanding of the chilling experience.
“Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires, glozed with crusted dark-red jewels”. To me it seems as if the cold weather has claimed the lives of soldiers as they are now ghosts. It seems ironic that the ghosts glimpse at sunk fires and yet the reason they are spirits is because the cold weather killed them. Perhaps the warmth from the dying fires wasn’t enough to keep them warm and alive.
“Tonight, this frost will fasten on this mud and us”. You can’t get blood pumping around the body when your lying on the cold ground asleep. Its as if the coldness strikes at night just like an ambush of enemy soldiers would. So when the frost came during the night that is when many soldiers died. They wouldn’t of even known what hit them, apart from a slow coldness warping itself around there body slowly freezing them to death.
Simile: Example “Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles” I believe the author has used this to empathize the idea of how the coldness was not only uncomfortable but painful for the soldiers.
Personification: Example “Merciless iced east winds that knives us” Helps build on the idea that the winds were so cold that they literally pierced the soldiers skin.
Repetition: Example “But nothing happens” Perhaps the author repeats this sentence because the soldiers are suffering all the time but none are dying, constantly battling the elements. The soldiers endure long periods of cold weather but nothing else happens, it seems ironic that the author describes nothing happening during a war because war is always chaotic and full of fear and yet nothing is happening. Perhaps the war has come to a standstill and the soldiers are just waiting it out, waiting for something other than death.